Christmas is this coming week, and although you’ve probably been hearing Paul McCartney, Elvis and José Feliciano singing Christmas tunes in the stores since before Halloween, Christmas Eve or Day mass is the perfect time to reconnect with some of the most special and meaningful Christmas carols of the Church. As we traditionally do at St. Joseph’s, the three primary carols to be sung will be O Come, All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. The first carol (also known as Adeste, Fideles) has a relatively obscure origin. It is believed to have originated around 1740 by an English Catholic named John Francis Wade, but most documentation which would shed light on that was confiscated or destroyed during the French Revolution. Everyone has heard the story about Silent Night and how the piece was desperately composed for guitar when the parish organ suddenly died on Christmas Eve. Fact is, that story isn’t true: there was nothing wrong with the organ, and it was quite common for folk music-like songs to be composed specially for Christmas Eve mass. Franz Gruber was probably doing nothing differently that night than he had during previous Christmas Eves. The final carol is one of the most enduring written by Methodist Charles Wesley set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Other versions of the 1739 hymn exist, something which irked Charles’s brother John who disliked when others “mended” his or his brothers work. Mended or not, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is an uplifting and rousing way to begin your Christmas Season!