December 21, 2012


The seasonal TV specials we know and love — Charlie Brown, Rudolph and Frosty — are products of the 1960s, and most popular Christmas songs — Little Drummer Boy, White Christmas and Silver Bells — are only slightly older. And while Sufjan Stevens has produced excellent original Christmas music in the past few years — music that's even good enough to make us forget about the new, awful Christmas specials — two of my favorite carols — We Three Kings and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day are products of the 1860s. Prompted by my July 4th venture, I've decided to mash these up. (The links and dashing are done now.)

While writing this, I sang the verses to the tune of Heard the Bells and the chorus to We Three Kings, but I’m not sure how that sounds outside my head. Nevertheless, I like the image of a modern-day Zarathustra using the royal we to brainstorm gift ideas on his allegorical way to Bethlehem, even if he is really just slumped in a booth at the food court outside Panda Express, muddling tinny Christmas carols in his half-conscious mind. May your Christmas be a happy one.

We, A Sovereign, Heard the Bells

We heard the bells near Advent play
To hail the light of the twelfth day
Weight of glory
Finest story
Show us the Most Excellent Way

O star so wondrous, kingly bright
The bells resound, reflect thy light
We hear and pause, therein the cause
Guide us through the darkest night

We could buy gold, imperial worth
Proper for this Child’s birth
Though we are poor,
We’d want no more
But for the Most Excellent Way


Smells go with bells, make common rare
More precious than a woman’s hair
To fully sense
All matters hence
Demands the Most Excellent Way


Formaldehyde would work as well
Macabre but useful at death’s knell
The bells sound grim
The light is dim
Is this the Most Excellent Way?


Our gifts are not quite things persay
Where would we buy them nowadays
We tread the Most Excellent Way.