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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Twinkling lights are glowing
in silent hamlets tonight
And the hands of thousand children
hold the lights up towards the sky.
And joyful with song they’re greeting
their brother in heaven’s hall,
who came to us as our savior
as a child in a little stall.

There he laid, on a pillow made of hay

crying in his simple crib
the angles singing out there
on the desolate meadows of Bethlehem.

There they sang, for the first time

at night above David’s town
the eternal heavenly song,
which is always is young and new.

The song which tolls once more

with cheer each Christmas night
about the child, God's Son, our reconciler,
who gave us eternal life.

Jakob Sande 1929. 
Foto: Gyldendal.
Eigar: Jakob Sande-selskapet
On what has been said to be a sizzling hot summer’s day in 1931, a young man sat in a garden in the shadow of a tree and wrote. The man was Jakob Sande, the poet who two years before had published the poetry collection Svarte næter ("Black nights,") a book which had attracted a great deal of attention. The poem he now was about to write, was commissioned to be a part of a Christmas booklet by the title Jol in Sunnfjord (“Christmas in Sunnfjord”). The poem was simply called Jolekveld (”Christmas Eve”). 

Jakob Sande himself probably did not think very highly of what was to become his most famous poem, for it is not represented in any of his poetry collections. The public however, would have it otherwise, much due to the melody created for the poem by Lars Søraas in 1948. Today known as Det lyser i stille grender ("Twinkling lights are glowing in silent hamlets"), Sandes lyrics and Søraas' melody belongs to the Norwegian Christmas song canon, and the song remains as one of the most well-known and beloved carols to date.

Countless versions has been put on record throughout the years, the perhaps most renowned sung by Sissel Kyrkjebø (whom many might remember from the Titanic-soundtrack, as well as Prince Igor, a 1997-crossover duet with rapper Warren G.)

The following version, I must
however admit to be my favorite one by far. Performed by the Norwegian trio Vintermåne, first released on their Christmas album Søde Julenat in 2005, it brings an overwhelming sense of warmth and tranquility, most certainly fit for the occasion.

With best wishes for a peaceful, and very merry Christmas.

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