It’s Christmas Eve and once again the big day has approached faster than an easyJet flight leaving Gatwick Airport on Saturday morning. (What, too soon?)
A common theme through the Countdown to Christmas of previous years (with some exceptions) is that I mark my last day of work before the festive break with a suitably-themed video, and Christmas Eve with a Santa-themed video.
Today, however, is also my last day of work, although having successfully completed the last of my wrapping last night (normally a job for Christmas Eve – I am a man, after all!), I don’t mind one last (futile) opportunity to clear my to-do list before Christmas.
As it’s my last day of work, I have decided to stick with this theme for today’s main video. There may or may not be a bonus Santa-themed video later on.
And today I am offering another Catalan video, released last month by the band PeTaCa (Petit Taller de Cançons) and entitled Bressol d’hivern (Winter Crib). Rather fittingly, it focuses on families and friends coming together to spend the period with people who matter to us.
The lyrics roughly translate* as follows:
This evening, I will be popping along to Carols in the Pub at the King George V in Brompton. No, I won’t be drinking alcohol, I think I had almost my whole year’s quota of that last night…
Organised by St Mark’s Church, Carols in the Pub is not just an opportunity for me to get into the festive mood, but also (deeply personal sentimental comment alert) one of a number of steps I am taking to try to return to Christ after an extremely difficult year. To paraphrase Queen Elizabeth II, 2018 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure, for a number of reasons.
My annus horribilis aside, in preparation for this evening’s service, I present to you a more upbeat carol. Filmed for Songs of Praise, The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy tells of the story of Jesus’ birth, something I’m led to believe is somewhat important at this time of year.
But then, I’m hardly likely to be held out as a model Christian, so what would I know…
“No tingueu por. Us anuncio una bona nova que portarà a tot el poble una gran alegria: avui, a la ciutat de David, us ha nascut un salvador, que és el Messies, el Senyor.”
Lluc 2:10-11 BCI
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:10-11 NIV
As we get closer to the big day, I’d like us to take a moment to remind ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas.
No, it’s not the presents, the food or getting hilariously drunk at the office Christmas party! Instead, I am, of course, talking about the birth of Jesus, the son of God and, some would say, the saviour of mankind.
People who know me best will know I’m not really one to preach (I leave that to the professionals!).
Instead, on the Countdown to Christmas today I will simply leave you with Els Àngels de la Glòria, a Catalan take on the classic Angels We Have Heard On High, by Pastorets Rock.
We’re going all Spanish on the Countdown to Christmas today, courtesy of Mexican artist Emmanuel.
For many people, today is the last working day before Christmas (not me, I’m working Christmas Eve, but I will still dedicate today’s installment to those who aren’t), so I have decided to offer you wonderful people a decidedly more upbeat production than many of my previous choices thus far this year.
The best part of today’s chosen song is that I don’t need to provide a translation – it really is a well known classic, so very beautifully performed, in the form of Jingle Bells (Ya Llegó la Navidad).
Some rather unkind people have been comparing me to Scrooge or the Grinch this year. I can’t think where they got that idea from.
But their unsolicited comments have given me my inspiration for today’s Countdown to Christmas video.
I mean, who doesn’t love Lindsey Stirling (also featured last year, and probably not for the last time here), and with Sabrina Carpenter providing the vocals, this wonderful take on a classic is enough to get anyone in the (anti-)Christmas spirit.
Who says I can’t embrace my critics?
All together now:
You’re as cuddly as a cactus
You’re as charming as an eel…