278: Those who bless the poor shall themselves find blessing as well
Day 278: December 19th 2020
Those who bless the poor shall themselves find blessing as well
Christmas carols can lift our hearts or can destroy our mod if we hear them in a shopping mall. I often think of the workers in retail stored forced to listen to the same songs over and over again delivered through worn CD's or worse, Musack.
Not this year. No malls. I found this song on Y9uTube and searched for the lyrics -- which I never understood until this morning, Then the search for the lyrics which reveal a story of a compassionate king who sees a poor man gathering firewood.
The story goes like this: On a cold and snowy night, the good King Wenceslas is enjoying the Feast of Saint Stephen. He looks out over his land, illuminated by moonlight, and notices a poor man gathering firewood for his home. He asks a page if he knows who the man is. The page responds that the man lives a long distance from here, at the base of a mountain in the distance.
King Wenceslas immediately wishes to share the warmth of his own home and the food of the holiday with him. He orders the servants of his household to bring him food and firewood, that he may bring them into the poor man's home.
Thus begins the King's journey of goodwill through the wintery night with one of his servants. Off they go together, carrying a heavy load and trudging through heavy snowfall and cold wind.
The page soon tells the King, "Sire, I cannot go any further." The King tells his page to simply follow boldly in his footsteps. Legend says that as the page walks in the King's footsteps, he is pleasantly warmed.
King Wenceslas and his page reach the poor man's home, bringing him plenty of firewood and a wonderful dinner they all share together. The moral of the story being, those who bless the poor shall themselves find blessing as well.
It is a true story of Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (c. 907-935 AD). This is the region around Prague in the Czech Republic. Stories of his giving alms to the poor have been told since this time. But it would take many more centuries before these were put into a Christmas carol.
We celebrate our own compassionate people - Patti England with Silent Santas, Pat O'Connor, Jim and Dorothjy Keck with their immigrant families, Denise Dixon and all her helpers with dinner delivery to the homeless at Sam Jones. There are so many in our community giving so much this year, supporting their families and friends, weeping for our losses, celebrating new life. So many gifts, so many blessings! Truly those who bless the poor shall themselves find blessing.
(You'll love this wonderful rendition of the song)
The Roches: Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gathering winter fuel
Hither, page, and stand by me,
If thou knowst it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes fountain.
Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I shall see him dine
When we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude winds wild lament
And the bitter weather
Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps, good my page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shall find the winters rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his masters step he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye, who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.
SONGS (not to be missed)
The Roches: Good King Wenceslas
Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss - The Wexford Carol