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.
This is a translation of an article from Catalan newspaper VilaWeb entitled “La Moncloa imposa el canvi de nom de l’aeroport del Prat pel de Josep Tarradellas“. VilaWeb publishes some of their own articles in English here.
The Spanish Council of Ministers will today approve the change of name of Barcelona-El Prat Airport, which will be called Josep Tarradellas Airport. Sources at the Moncloa have confirmed the news, adding that ‘it is a decision which is loaded with symbolism, communicated to the Generalitat and the family’.
Indeed, the decision was communicated to the family, who were informed days ago and gave permission to use the name of President Tarradellas. But the Generalitat, according to sources in the Catalan Government, have not been able to have their say, and complain that the change was not agreed upon, recalling that there are naming commissions to manage and work on decisions like this one. The Catalan Government have requested that the Spanish Government rectify the decision and not go ahead with approving the change of name.
The General Secretary of ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), Marta Rovira, as leader of Tarradellas’ party, has criticised the decision:
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…