Two versions of the same event
On 26 December I published a reflection on 2016.
Many who grew up in Britain, white South Africa, the USA, Australia and New Zealand probably know the words to the popular Christmas carol, Away in a Manger, whether christian or not. It was first published in 1885 with the popular tune by J Kirkpatrick being added in 1895 (ref). On the Thursday before Christmas 2016 I was introduced to new words using this popular tune. The carol, sung by Muslim children, was called Oh, Under the Palm Tree. For readers interested in the story behind ‘Under the palm tree’, read here.
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head,
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky,
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay
Close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with you there.
That’s where Jesus was born with nobody around.
His blessed mother Mary used to worship and pray
Then Grabriel came down and to Mary did say
“I am only a messenger sent by your Lord
to give you the news of a son, most pure.”
Mary left from the town, for what would they all say?
She was troubled and worried then a voice to her came:
“Don’t worry, don’t worry, shake the dates from the tree,
And drink from fresh water, look below is a stream!”
Then Jesus was born and they went back to the town.
And the baby amazed them when he spoke out aloud:
“I was sent down by Allah to show you the way,
I must pray for my mother, pay zak-at* and pray.”
After Jesus, there was only one more prophet to come,
And Muhammed, like the others, taught us Allah is one.
*zak-at is a form of alms or in the christian tradition – tithes.
Individuals are still ostracised because of who they are or what they wear – Leslie Tate’s Heaven’s Rage and many of Sue Hampton’s short stories in Ravelled and other stories provide evidence.
RJ Whitfield’s The Good Vicar touches on themes raised in both carols.
Isn’t it time we put our differences aside, stop labelling people and give gifts (kindness, tolerance and acceptance) every day?
Keeping on the theme of Christmas – Greg Jenner, author of Horrible Histories, shares his findings on the origin of 25 December as the date for Christmas. He also explains about Father Christmas and British Christmas traditions. Robbie Cheadle, co-author of Sir Chocolate, shares some views of Christmas in South Africa.
Christmas continues as the theme in The Lake Tanganyika Expedition 1914-1917: A primary source chronology as the first action the boats took part in was Christmas day 1915. One of the reasons TSL published the book was to challenge the generally accepted view of Spicer Simson and the two British boats Mimi and Toutou which travelled across Africa in World War 1.
— Mic (@mic) December 20, 2016
Whatever day of the year you read this, may it be peaceful and all you wish it to be.