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Friday, December 25, 2015

Banish the Winter Blues at These Massachusetts Attractions

Fancy orchids (see above) or camelias ? Then head to the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, with greenhouses chock full of blooms. Some are available for sale, as well.

It's not too late to take in the Christmas lights at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston MA. Just get there before January 4.  There's more to see than just the lights, like, say the Orangerie.

While you're in that part of the state, take a brief detour to Clinton and the Museum of Russian Icons,  and walk a couple of blocks to have a nosh -- say, coffee and some kattayif or baklava -- at Zaytoon, 72 High Street. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Carols

On Christmas Eve, I can think of no better program of Carols and Lessons than that offered by King's Chapel at Cambridge and its renowned choir. 

Among my favorites are the traditional Adam Lay Ybounden, the Sussex Carol, and Once in Royal David's City (which leads the program).


Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed;
Mary, loving mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall.
With the poor, the scorned, the lowly
lived on earth our Savior holy.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern;
day by day, like us he grew;
he was little, weak, and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew;
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Adam Lay Ybounden

Adam lay ybounden,
   Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
   Thought he not too long.
And all was for an apple,
   An apple that he took,
As clerk√ęs finden written
   In their book.
Nor had one apple taken been,
   The apple taken been,
Then had never Our Lady
  A-been heaven's queen.
Blessed be the time
   That apple taken was.
Therefore we may singen
   Deo gratias!

Sussex Carol

1. On Christmas night all Christians sing
 To hear the news the angels bring
 On Christmas night all Christians sing
 To hear the news the angels bring


 News of great joy news of great mirth
 News of our merciful King's birth
 When from our sin he set us free
 All for to gain our liberty?

2. Then why should men on earth be so sad
 Since our Redeemer made us glad
 Then why should men on earth be so sad
 Since our Redeemer made us glad


3. When sin departs before his grace
 Then life and health come in its place
 When in its place, angels and men with joy may sing
 All for to see the new born King


4. All out of darkness we have light
 Which made the angels sing this night
 Glory to God and peace to men
 Now and forever more, Amen.