Today I want to share one of my favorite holiday songs with you. I love this song because it captures a quality of Christmas that not all holiday music seems to capture.
It’s not about presents or reindeer or Christmas trees.
It IS about Jesus.
But this Jesus is a far cry from the angelic child in the manger, the innocent babe so often sung about in the carols.
This Jesus is more like the Green man of Pagan England – a wild indomitable spirit who sings with the force of unbridled nature in full bloom.
I first heard this song performed by John Langstaff in the Christmas Revels when I was a small child. And I have never forgotten it.
Langstaff sang of Jesus as the “Lord of the Dance”. As he did, he became this incredible figure himself. Dressed in white, with red bells tied round his calves and wrists, and accompanied by a crew of dancers, he sang with the power of a magician, or a pied piper.
I watched in awe as, by the thousands, we the audience rose in our seats and found ourselves dancing through the aisles of the theater, holding hands, led by the singers of the chorus, out the doors, down the steps, yes, even down onto the stage.
Now, years later, no holiday season is complete without singing this song, made richer by my grown up understanding of what it means. Today, it speaks to me of the dance of life, of why we sing, and why we must go on singing, with even greater passion and commitment in times of strife.
Because music makes even the hard things bearable. And it speaks to that within us that resists all domination – that which will not be supressed.
The song calls to all of us, everywhere. As if anyone anywhere might hear this glorious music, might embody the phenomenal power of this figure.
“Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance said he
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
and I’ll lead you all in the dance said he.”
We’ll sing this song, and many others, at Meadowlark Music Class through the holidays. Join us any Wednesday or Friday morning for warm chai, play along instruments, dancing, and an interactive puppet encounter for the children. My little ones are home from school for the holidays too, so my family will be there too, en masse!
Thanks for reading, and I wish you and your loved ones a blessed holiday season.