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Hush Little Babe – Carol of the
Explanation, composition and
by Fr. Stephen Somerville
Once, in my cathedral choir
school teaching years, I received a text for a Christmas lullaby, Carol
of the Pines. Tune, please? I tried and complied. But it didn’t fly.
Many years later, I dug out that nondescript text and started mulling it
over. The Gospel “infancy narrations” (Luke and Matthew) provide us with the
known facts about the childhood of Jesus. Could I write a few verses of
meditation on these – the birth, shepherds, stable, Magi, presentation,
finding in the Temple….? The idea came to end each line with the rhyme-like
“ing,” making a gerund. So was born Carol of the Princeling.
The Church considers February 2, the Presentation-Purification feast, to be
the end of the Christmas season, when Jesus was only 40 days old. We can use
this hymn from Christmas until then, and even at other times suggested by
the liturgy texts, or at any friendly hymn-sing.
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