Thursday, December 17, 2020

12 Songs of Christmas, Day 10

The second part of the Christmas story in Matthew (chapter 2) doesn't get a whole lot of play in Christmas carols. Yes, there's "We Three Kings" which details the wise men from the East visiting Jesus and giving gifts, but the rest of the story—how Harod assisted the wise men in finding Jesus and wanted them to report back to him so that he could eliminate the perceived threat to his rule; and when the wise men were warned by an angel to not tell Harod, Harod then went on a campaign of infanticide and killed every male child in Bethlehem under the age of two—is mostly ignored in song around the holidays.

It's easy to see why this is so: it's not exactly the kind of feel-good festiveness that we want in our caroling. Outside of the notable "Coventry Carol" no other song comes to mind. Except this one.

Appearing on their 1999 Christmas album, indie rock band Low's "Long Way Around the Sea" is a plaintive, simple but deeply affecting song about the wise men's entire journey, not just their visit to the Christ child.

In this video, musicians from the Ontario-based mega-church perform Low's "Long Way Around the Sea" in a woodland setting. It is both sad and touching.


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