Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Songs for Advent and Christmas 4: La Navidad de Luis

This song by León Gieco was performed by him and Mercedes Sosa as a duet on her 1996 CD, “Escondido en mi país”. In stunningly simple lyrics, it demonstrates the difference between mere charity and justice and gives us a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when He said that we do not live by bread alone.

Toma Luis, mañana es Navidad,
un pan dulce y un poco de vino,
ya que no puedes comprar.

Toma Luis, llévalo a tu casa
y podrás junto con tu padre
la Navidad festejar.

Mañana no vengas a trabajar,
que el pueblo estará de fiesta
y no habrá tristezas...

Señora, gracias por lo que me da,
pero yo no puedo esto llevar
porque mi vida no es de Navidad.

Señora, ¿cree que mi pobreza
llegará al final comiendo pan
el día de Navidad?

Mi padre me dará algo mejor,
me dirá que Jesús es como yo,
y entonces así podré seguir...

Viviendo, viviendo,
viviendo, viviendo,
viviendo, viviendo,
viviendo, viviendo.

Tomorrow is Christmas, Luis.
Take some sweet bread and a little wine
since you can't buy anything.

Take it, Luis. Take it to your house
and you'll be able to celebrate Christmas
with your father.

Don't come to work tomorrow
since people will be celebrating
and there will be no sadness...

Thank you, Ma'am for what you give me
but I can't take this
because my life isn't Christmas.

Ma'am, do you think my poverty will come
to an end by eating bread
on Christmas Day?

My father will give me something better,
He'll tell me that Jesus was like me,
and so I'll be able to keep on...

Living, living,...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Songs for Advent and Christmas 3: Standing in the Rain

This song is by the late English Quaker singer-songwriter Sydney Carter, best known as the author of "Lord of the Dance". It challenges us on what it means to call ourselves Christian. Would we welcome Mary and Joseph if they came to our door in the middle of the night asking for shelter? Would we welcome them if they were of a different race, if they didn't speak our language, or even if they were of a different faith? This song was written in 1965, but as long as there is discrimination in our churches and society, as long as there are apathetic Christians, it still applies.

This video is not the best version of the song but it's the only one available on the Internet. The children's choir leaves out some of the most controversial lines of the song, perhaps because they are not appropriate for small, innocent voices.

Standing in the rain, knocking on the window
Knocking on the window on a Christmas Day
There he is again, knocking on the window
Knocking on the window in the same old way

No use knocking on the window
There is nothing we can do, sir
All the beds are booked already
There is nothing left for you, sir

No use knocking on the window
Some are lucky, some are not, sir
We are Christian men and women
But we're keeping what we've got, sir

No we haven't got a manger
No we haven't got a stable
We are Christian men and women
Always willing, never able

Christ the Lord has gone to heaven
One day he'll be coming back, sir
In this house he will be welcome
But we hope he won't be black, sir

Wishing you a merry Christmas
We will now go back to bed, sir
Till you woke us with your knocking
We were sleeping like the dead, sir

Photos: Sydney Carter; Fritz Eichenberg's Birth of Christ