Today’s song is “Carol of the Bells,” a song which I would never choose to sing, but which we are singing in church this Sunday. Click on the link for a nice midi bell performance and all the words. Here is a downloadable midi file and sheet music and stuff. Here is an impressive guitar version. Here is a PDF file of the sheet music for flute.

This is a grand arrangement of a Ukrainian folk song, with rudimentary words set to it by Peter Wilhousky at the beginning of the 20th century. It is sort of exciting to listen to, especially if sung by a large and skillful choir, though #2 son finds that it reminds him of “Danse Macabre.” (Scroll down at the linked page if you need to refresh your memory — it’s on the left.)

The reason I am thinking about this song today is not only the horror I feel at having to sing this on Sunday in a severely underrehearsed condition, but also the feeling it evokes. It is a little bit fast and threatening, isn’t it? A little bit like Christmas shopping, or not having sent out your Christmas cards yet, or not yet having made the 6 dozen cookies for tomorrow’s bake sale, and also having to be at work at the store the next two days, with snow threatened, and needing to get the paperwork for two shows in tonight or they may not arrive for Christmas.

Yesterday I made deliveries and did computer work and went with #1 daughter to finish up the shopping and did a party at which I got involved in conversation and actually burnt almond bark in the microwave. Smoke and everything. I apologized, set the stinking dish out on the porch, and carried on.

I also had an hour or two by myself.

I can’t remember the last time this happened. Probably last spring.

It was wonderful. I love my family very much, and enjoy them. I also enjoy my work, including my customers. But if you never get to be alone, being alone becomes a great luxury.

As with “Carol of the Bells,” which is a very crowded song, crowds and Christmas can be fun and exciting and jolly but also a little bit overwhelming. The best plan is probably to throw yourself into it headlong, and also to carve out a couple of hours to yourself in the middle of it.

My husband brought home a ham from work. A ham is a very good positive economic indicator. Rough years, we get a second turkey. Really bad years he gets laid off. This year it’s just a two or three week shut down, beginning tonight. Monday is my last evening engagement till Christmas Eve. #2 son has some finals next week, but is otherwise feeling finished with the semester. We are beginning to feel pretty festive.