This is an appropriate day of the year for this subject...

What are some of your favorite winter holiday songs?

It would be especially good to share powerful new secular lyrics to tunes that have become associated with Christmas.

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The tune for "Masters In This Hall" was composed as "Marche pour les Matelots" (March for the Sailors) by Marin Marais for his opera Alcione (1706). It quickly became a popular dance tune, which we know as The Female Saylor.

(The Christmas carol was written by William Morris some 150 years later, around 1860.)

What Gift Is This?
words by John Hoad
to the tune "Greensleeves" (trad. English)

What touch is this that heals our pain
when all our world is troubled?
When body's pressed and mind distressed
and every problem doubled?

This, this is human love, the gift we share, the gift of self,
This, this the love we give to human sister, brother.

What gift is this that science gives
and art and music blending?
And crafts and skills and working wills
in concert never ending?


What word is this that cheers the mind
to see the strength of heroes?Who dared the wrong and fought so long
to plow our freedom's furrows?


What light is this that shines so clear
upon our journey onward?
When doubt assails and fear prevails,
our values take us forward?


(There's sheet music, with words, and an auto-playing instrumental MIDI rendition at this page from the Ethical Society Songbook: )

Are there non-science lyrics to these songs for those of us who were liberal arts majors? ;-)

"this page" does not show up on my computer. 

Nor does 

"The requested URL /songbook/EditorsChoice/E30.htm was not found on this server." 

Is it just my computer, or have others had problems opening it? 

Yes... "They" evidently reorganized the website. "What Gift Is This" is now here:

The "Heritage Songs of the Ethical Society" website, which includes "What Gift Is This", has moved, so the old links don't work anymore. It's now at .

The "Heritage Songs of the Ethical Society" has been improved since I looked last. You don't have to choose between two versions of the music anymore. (And they've gone to a secure HTTPS connection, the new standard.)

Great lyrics to a familiar melody. Thanks.

Well, today's theme music in the Greater Rural Nebraska Metroplex is "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"

I am also partial to Auld Lang Syne.

Silver Bells is nice, because it speaks of things we just don't have around here.

And I like all of the songs on the album "Oy to the World," Christmas songs secular and sectarian done by the Klezmer band as Klezmer music by The Klezmonauts. The rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as a song from a spaghetti-Western movie soundtrack with the whistle from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is priceless.

James, it seems a Jewish/Christian Klezmonauts perform "Oy to the World," 

Oy to the World, The Klezmonauts

That was cute, Joan.

For me, the utter, absolute classic come from Nat "King" Cole, himself:

It was a classic nearly 60 years ago when I first heard it, and it remains so to this day.  Merry Christmas, gang.




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