Saturday, December 04, 2010

shall yourselves find blessing

Last Christmas, I traveled south of the border to Mexico with my good friends, Judd and Debra. The purpose of our trip was to help spread holiday cheer to more than 5,000 beautiful Mixtecan people. You can read more about my experience here.

If we were still living in San Diego, I would absolutely head south of the border again. But this time, I would bring my whole family with me so that my children might better understand the people that we pray for every night.

Recently, I've been involved in fundraising efforts for local homeless charities in the Washington, D.C. area and I have been overwhelmed at the need right here, in our own country, at virtually the foot of the White House.

You don't need to travel to a foreign country to see people with great need.

But that trip to Mexico last year touched my heart so greatly, that this year, I set some of the pictures that I took to one of my favorite Christmas songs. I'd never really appreciated the lyrics to the song, Good King Wenceslas, until I heard it brilliantly performed by The Skydiggers, a Canadian folk band.

This is such a beautiful song and reminds me so much of the good work that Judd and Debra, and scores of others, 'round the world, do to help bring relief, compassion and most of all hope, to the impoverished.

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
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st 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 will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's 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, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, women and men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing!

Please tell me your favorite Christmas song. For every comment left on this post, I will be donating $2.00 to help continue the good work of Hilarious Givers.

In giving, we receive.

And serving in Mexico last year was a real gift for me. It was also a very humbling experience for both my spirit and my stomach. I doubt I'll ever be able to eat a churro, again.


  1. Beautiful! I know your efforts are appreciated.

    My favorite Xmas song has always been Little Drummer Boy.

  2. Love Mary's Boy Child. But I do love all Christmas songs. Tis my favorite time of yr:)

  3. my favorite is silent night - many thanks for your contribution - and many thanks for your blog - my children are 20 and 16 (two girls) but i do enjoy remembering all the earlier times as i enjoy your family and their advntures

  4. My favorite winter song is Baby It's Cold Outside, but my favorite Christmas song is Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - which my family played every year while we decorated the tree & I've been carrying on the tradition since moving into my own apartment.

    Thank you so much for your donation! I so appreciate charitable Christmas giving & will be passing some of that around to friends at the end of the month. :)

  5. I still love Little Drummer Boy. Makes me tear up every time.

  6. I'll Be Home For Christmas is my favorite. I still get teary-eyed thinking about my brother being thousands of miles away in the military and hearing this song play.

  7. O Holy Night!

  8. Ummmm..... I'm loving that song! How do I buy it? I found the group on itunes, but not the song..... I would love to add it to my Christmas song list :)

  9. Favorite is tough - but maybe We Three Kings - I once learned how to play it on the piano.

  10. Christmas Eve in Sarajevo by Trans Siberian Orchestra! Just saw them in concert at the Verizon Center!

  11. I am a lurker but delurking for a great cause!
    my favorite song has to be silent night. I remember being a very small child holding a candle at the mid night mass totaly enchanted.
    I love your blog! Rachel

  12. Oh Holy Night, definitely!

  13. That's really generous of you. To answer your question, I like that song "Jingle Bell Rock," and especially the line, "Giddyup, Jingle Horse, pick up your feet." Not quite as inspirational as your song....

  14. Some of my favourites are Santa Claus is heading south, Santa never made it into darwin(sentimental), Spirit of Christmas, Morningtown ride to christmas, Theres are no lights on our Christmas tree, Christmas Lullaby, Have yourself a merry little christmas.
    And my absolute favourites Christmas songs are Carol of the Birds, Six white boomers and the Australian version of Jingle Bells.

  15. It's not Christmas for me until I hear Same Old Lang Syne, which I had to download to the ipod because it's just not played on country stations....

    Or how about this gem, the Twelve Pains of Christmas :-)

    I'm also partial to Christmas Shoes, even if it makes me cry.

    But I've got Dh to keep me sane and it's not Christmas for him till he hears Dominic the Donkey.

    Can you tell I'm indecisive? Thanks for helping me start my day with a smile.

  16. It's a tie between "What Child Is This?" and "O,Holy Night".

    But if I had to choose based on the "choke me up and make me cry" meter, it would be "O, Holy Night".

    The poverty in DC is stunning. In the shadow of power and more money than any of us can imagine, citizens of this country sleep on the street, digging for food out of garbage containers.
    It is shameful, especially at this time of year when we are reminded of the similar circumstances into which Christ was born. The more things change, the more they stay the same, even 2010 years later.

  17. Your trip to Mexico was by far my most favorite charitable thing you have ever done. I would have totally went with you this year. But, drats, you moved! LOVED the video. You did a great job on it.

  18. James Taylor's version of
    'Go Tell It On The Mountain':

  19. O'Holy Night is my favorite. It brings tears to my eyes every time. Thank you for all the good you do, I love keeping up with your blog.

    BGG 23Months

  20. My fav is Little Drummer boy. I love the beat and the 'rumpa pum pum'.

  21. My fave is "Oh, Holy Night".

  22. At the moment, my favourite Christmas song is the Hallelujah Chorus (is it even a Christmas song, really?). Maybe because I keep seeing youtube videos of flashmobs all over the USA, and dream of doing it here.
    "For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth..."

    But I have a soft spot in my heart for a lot of the songs. My fifth graders are singing the Christmas version of "Offering" by Paul Baloche, for our Christmas party on the 16th. If we ever start practicing it...

  23. Oh Holy Night is a favorite of mine!

  24. My favorite Christmas song is...Mary Did you Know. I think this is a great thing you are doing!!

  25. My long time favorite tune of the season is " I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". What a great thing you are doing.

  26. Ring Christmas Bell and Holy holy holy are mmy two favorites. Thanks for being awseome Jen. Merry Christmas!

  27. Hugs, dear Jen.
    My favorite Christmas Carol is Winter Wonderland. (I know, its not a religious song...)

  28. YES! I love all these songs ... O Holy Night and Silent Night bring me to tears, too.

    And Kathy, I love Mary's Boy Child. Especially the version sung by Harry Belafonte (Does anyone else actually sing it?).

    "Hark now hear the angels sing! A new King born today! And man will live for ever more because of Christmas Day!"

    I can't help but sing along, every time I hear it.

  29. Amanda in MS12/5/10, 11:59 PM

    Percy the Puny Poinsetta :) and Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer

  30. Jen,
    You are such a beautiful person. We miss you, Charlie & esp the kids! We'll be thinking of you on Dec 18 when we go for the annual fiesta at Maneadero. Anyone want to come with us? Give me a call! Your life will be changed! P.S. "What Child is This?"

  31. I love Collin Raye's "What if Jesus Comes Back Like That". It's not entirely Christmas, but it brings the same message as Good King Wencleslas in a modern tone.

  32. Favorite Xmas song is the Little Drummer Boy or Do you Hear What I hear. So hard to pick one over the other.


  33. Oh Holy Night

  34. The Little Drummer Boy - because having nothing to give he gave his all. Thank you for encouraging Hilarious Givers in this amazing way.

  35. I love "O, Holy Night" or how it is written... What a time to celebrate!!

  36. For my BFF Deb, I LOVE all holiday music by Mannheim Steamroller & the TransSiberian Orchestra !!!
    Love Cid

  37. 2 bucks baby!!!

  38. best song O Holy Night .......Celine Dion's version brings me to tears every time.

  39. okay. I changed my mind after seeing this....

    halleluiah indeed

  40. O Holy Night performed by Luciano Pavarotti is by far the best rendition after my dad sings it in french. Love this song!