Singing traditional carols has long been a beloved aspect of the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany season. Carols are hymns or songs that are usually narrative and celebratory in nature with a simple spirit and are often in verse form. The term “carol” has a varied and interesting past and is derived from several foreign words that include the ideas of dancing, feasting, and rejoicing as well as singing.
Biblical scholars have often asserted that the Angels sang the very first carol to the shepherds on the night of Christ's birth. But, Mary's song, the Magnificat, is also a sort of carol.
The idea of caroling through town from one home to another seems to have started sometime during the Reformation in Holland and Scotland. Carolers would visit each house of a parish on Christmas Night to sing songs of the Nativity and to call forth blessings on every home.
The term “wassail” literally means "Good health!" Carolers would go through town “wassailing” to bless their neighbors--who would then often reciprocate by giving them refreshments for the further spreading of good cheer.
Last night after our second service, the congregation of Parish Pres joined together for a brief time of strolling, fellowshipping, and caroling through downtown Franklin (on our way to a home just a couple of blocks from the chapel where we sang and ate way, way, way too many goodies). I hadn't done anything like that in years! We had so much fun. I felt like we were in Mitford. We are a blessed people, indeed.