06/12/2015 Songs of Praise


06/12/2015

It's Saint Nicholas Day and Songs of Praise has festive features and carols galore from across the country.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 06/12/2015. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Well, whether you call him Father Christmas,

0:00:030:00:05

Santa Claus or Kris Kringle,

0:00:050:00:07

they're all names for one man - St Nicholas.

0:00:070:00:10

And today, December the 6th, well, this is his special day,

0:00:100:00:13

and I'm here in York to find out how this fourth-century bishop,

0:00:130:00:17

known for his secret gift of giving,

0:00:170:00:20

has become the figure we all know and love.

0:00:200:00:23

God bless you all.

0:00:230:00:25

I've come to Gloucester Cathedral to meet an artist who's

0:00:250:00:28

overcome huge obstacles and is now using his painting skills

0:00:280:00:33

to express the true meaning of Christmas.

0:00:330:00:36

# So here it is Merry Christmas... #

0:00:360:00:40

Don't worry, don't worry,

0:00:400:00:42

you've not tuned in accidentally to an old edition of Top Of The Pops.

0:00:420:00:46

I'm Noddy Holder and I've come to York, too, to uncover

0:00:460:00:50

the origins of one of our best-loved and famous carols.

0:00:500:00:53

# O tidings of comfort and joy... #

0:00:530:00:57

As Christmas is fast approaching,

0:01:110:01:12

we'll be singing some great festive favourites,

0:01:120:01:15

and there'll also be a stunning performance

0:01:150:01:17

of Gabriel's Message by The Swingle Singers.

0:01:170:01:20

And we begin with an Advent hymn

0:01:200:01:23

that expresses that sense of hope this season is all about.

0:01:230:01:26

Have you ever wondered why we hang our Christmas stockings up

0:03:260:03:29

and find a chocolate coin or two inside, if we're lucky?

0:03:290:03:32

Well, this is just one of the traditions

0:03:320:03:34

that started with St Nicholas.

0:03:340:03:36

His name has been squashed and squeezed through

0:03:360:03:39

a variety of languages until it became...Santa Claus.

0:03:390:03:43

Have no fear, St Nicholas is here!

0:03:440:03:47

Canon Jim Rosenthal is founder of the International St Nicholas Society.

0:03:470:03:52

I'm St Nicholas. Now, what's your names?

0:03:520:03:55

Sporting the robes of this fourth-century bishop and saint,

0:03:550:03:58

he's determined we discover the Christian roots of Santa Claus.

0:03:580:04:03

Every year,

0:04:030:04:05

Canon Jim is instrumental in the St Nicholas Festival in Canterbury.

0:04:050:04:09

But today I'm meeting him at York Minster,

0:04:090:04:12

which has a whole chapel dedicated to the saint he so admires.

0:04:120:04:16

St Nicholas was a very rich man.

0:04:160:04:18

His parents died at an early age,

0:04:180:04:20

leaving him a lot of money.

0:04:200:04:22

After training for the priesthood,

0:04:220:04:24

he realised that people were suffering

0:04:240:04:27

and he decided to give his money away.

0:04:270:04:29

And he did it in gradual ways and through his legends,

0:04:290:04:32

but his most famous legend is that of the three bags of gold coins.

0:04:320:04:37

He heard of a man who had three daughters that were going to

0:04:370:04:40

be sold into slavery because he had no money for their dowries.

0:04:400:04:44

So he took it upon himself, late at night, to give money to them secretly.

0:04:440:04:48

And he took these coins, each on a different night,

0:04:480:04:52

put them through the chimney or the window - legend says both -

0:04:520:04:56

and they fell into the Christmas...

0:04:560:04:58

what we can now call Christmas stockings, and finally

0:04:580:05:01

the father says, "I wonder who's doing this great deed of generosity for us?"

0:05:010:05:05

and he stays up one night and he finds that it's Nicholas.

0:05:050:05:07

Nicholas says, "Don't say anything,

0:05:070:05:09

"because I'm doing this because Jesus wants me to do it

0:05:090:05:12

"as his priest and I can afford to do it."

0:05:120:05:15

Why is St Nicholas so important to you?

0:05:150:05:19

Why are you so passionate about him?

0:05:190:05:21

Because I believe St Nicholas was a walking gospel person.

0:05:210:05:24

He was the beatitude made flesh.

0:05:240:05:27

All the things that Jesus asked us to do in the Gospels -

0:05:270:05:30

to be kind, to be generous, compassionate -

0:05:300:05:33

he was all those things. Because the world is hurting

0:05:330:05:37

and we have an answer, and this man, Nicholas, can help bring that.

0:05:370:05:41

He's not the answer but can help lead us to the answer in Bethlehem.

0:05:410:05:46

And, of course, that is the true gift of Christmas, the generosity of God.

0:05:460:05:50

Oh, I think I've found the warmest spot on the market.

0:08:210:08:24

Now, one of the most well-loved

0:08:240:08:26

and recognisable carols is the classic God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

0:08:260:08:31

Noddy Holder, who knows a thing or two about a classic Christmas song,

0:08:310:08:34

came here to York to find out about the story behind it.

0:08:340:08:40

# So here it is Merry Christmas

0:08:400:08:44

# Everybody's having fun...#

0:08:440:08:47

Well, I suppose you already know that I love Christmas.

0:08:470:08:51

It's Christmas!

0:08:510:08:55

But what you probably don't know is that God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

0:08:550:09:00

is the only carol that features in Dickens's classic Christmas story.

0:09:000:09:05

# God bless you merry gentlemen, may nothing you dismay. #

0:09:050:09:08

And also you might not know that it dates back

0:09:080:09:11

as far as the 16th century.

0:09:110:09:13

It's my favourite carol too and I want to find out how it came about,

0:09:150:09:20

so I'm going to step back in time

0:09:200:09:22

into the carefully-restored medieval Barley Hall

0:09:220:09:26

to meet conductor, choral director and Christmas carol expert Jeremy Summerly.

0:09:260:09:32

I was surprised that God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was so old.

0:09:320:09:36

Well, it's old in that it's medieval, but it's Mediterranean.

0:09:360:09:39

That you may not know.

0:09:390:09:41

And it's a Mediterranean folk tune.

0:09:410:09:44

It's the angel talking to the shepherds on the Palestinian hills,

0:09:440:09:47

and the angel is going, "God rest ye merry, gentlemen."

0:09:470:09:52

In other words, rest - stay - merry - happy. Don't panic. It's all right.

0:09:520:09:56

Christ has been born. That's what it means.

0:09:560:09:58

But what happens is the Victorians misplaced the comma.

0:09:580:10:02

God rest you - comma - merry gentlemen.

0:10:020:10:04

-And, actually, this is what Dickens picks up.

-Yeah.

0:10:040:10:07

And he changes it even more than that because he goes,

0:10:070:10:09

"God bless you, merry gentleMAN."

0:10:090:10:11

Aimed at Scrooge, the singular gentleman.

0:10:110:10:13

Completely changing the meaning

0:10:130:10:15

because it's got nothing to do with the shepherds,

0:10:150:10:17

the birth of Christ any more.

0:10:170:10:19

HE PLAYS THE TUNE

0:10:190:10:23

It's a catchy melody and it's a catchy tune,

0:10:230:10:26

but it's not... It doesn't sound like a folk tune to me.

0:10:260:10:29

The version you know is quite foursquare

0:10:290:10:33

but originally when it was a medieval, Mediterranean tune,

0:10:330:10:36

I imagine it would have had very little resemblance to the tune you know now.

0:10:360:10:41

But it's become popular because we've kind of Englished it up.

0:10:410:10:45

Do you know what I mean? It's the same way we do with our food.

0:10:450:10:47

We don't take any nonsense, the English, though, do we?

0:10:470:10:50

We think we are the best and that's the way it should be.

0:10:500:10:53

You could put it like that. I couldn't possibly comment!

0:10:530:10:56

# God rest ye merry gentlemen

0:10:560:10:58

# Let nothing you dismay

0:10:580:11:00

# Remember Christ our saviour

0:11:000:11:02

# Was born on Christmas day... #

0:11:020:11:05

During the Reformation, Christmas celebrations

0:11:050:11:07

and Christmas carols were banned.

0:11:070:11:10

It was due in part to the waits bands of Yorkshire

0:11:100:11:13

that these traditions were kept alive.

0:11:130:11:16

'Waits bands were led by important locals or council leaders

0:11:160:11:19

'and would sing outside churches, pubs and even homes.'

0:11:190:11:25

Yeah, you guys sound great.

0:11:250:11:27

Fantastic. What happened to waits bands?

0:11:270:11:31

Why don't we see them around any more?

0:11:310:11:33

Well, they were professional players

0:11:330:11:35

and they were a show of pomp and wealth for the city.

0:11:350:11:37

As time went on and music became more popular and more common

0:11:370:11:40

and more people played instruments,

0:11:400:11:42

so the cities dispensed with paying for music and, lo and behold,

0:11:420:11:46

the waits disappeared, really.

0:11:460:11:48

How important is it for you to keep on the tradition of waits bands?

0:11:480:11:52

Well, we have a fascination with the music of the 14th, 15th, 16th centuries

0:11:520:11:57

and we really like to broadcast and carry on tradition.

0:11:570:12:00

I find that although I love the traditional carol services

0:12:000:12:02

with the organ and the traditional Christmas carols,

0:12:020:12:05

to sing with these guys on these original instruments...

0:12:050:12:08

And it's such a spirited sound that for me, that's the true spirit of Christmas.

0:12:080:12:12

Well, I'd love to hear a few more bars. Go for it.

0:12:120:12:15

# Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

0:12:150:12:18

# Comfort and joy

0:12:180:12:20

# Oh, tidings of comfort and joy. #

0:12:200:12:24

St Nicholas, who we are celebrating today,

0:14:150:14:18

really believed so strongly in giving,

0:14:180:14:20

especially to those most in need.

0:14:200:14:23

And in the spirit of St Nick, there's a charity right here in York

0:14:230:14:26

that connects those who want to give to those who need their help.

0:14:260:14:30

Rob Ainsworth is the coordinator of the charity named The Besom,

0:14:300:14:35

a reference to an old-fashioned broom

0:14:350:14:38

with the aim of sweeping away suffering.

0:14:380:14:40

-Oh, that looks gorgeous.

-Something to warm you up.

0:14:400:14:43

-I'm so happy. That's why you got me coming over.

-Yeah.

0:14:430:14:46

So just tell me, what exactly is the Besom project?

0:14:460:14:48

Essentially, the Besom is a bridge

0:14:480:14:51

between people in the church who have

0:14:510:14:53

and want to give and people who are in need.

0:14:530:14:57

We hold relationships with social workers and health visitors

0:14:570:15:00

and we match up people who have things and time and money to give.

0:15:000:15:04

They realise that as Christians we should be giving to people,

0:15:040:15:07

but they just don't know how to.

0:15:070:15:09

They don't know where people live, they don't know how they can help,

0:15:090:15:12

they are concerned that their gifts might be abused, things like that.

0:15:120:15:15

So our vision, really, is to equip the church to serve the poor,

0:15:150:15:18

as Jesus did.

0:15:180:15:20

One group that is helping is York's Vineyard Church,

0:15:200:15:22

whose volunteers are busy preparing Christmas hampers.

0:15:220:15:25

This one is Diane's and that one is Tracy's.

0:15:250:15:28

So this one is an 18 month-old and also a few little boys.

0:15:280:15:31

-Hi, Joanna.

-Hi, Diane.

-I love the look of all of this.

-I know.

0:15:310:15:36

It's completely luxurious.

0:15:360:15:37

I've seen some really good quality product and lots of chocolate.

0:15:370:15:41

Well, we like to be really generous.

0:15:410:15:43

We really feel like God has been really generous with his love to us

0:15:430:15:47

and we just want to be generous with people in the community.

0:15:470:15:51

This has got to be over-brimming.

0:15:510:15:53

'The essence of the project is to build relationships

0:15:530:15:55

'so that specific needs could be met through gifts or practical help.'

0:15:550:16:00

A few weeks ago I was introduced to someone with Rob from Besom

0:16:000:16:04

because we thought she wanted help with decorating,

0:16:040:16:07

but actually what she really needed was someone

0:16:070:16:10

who would look after her children whilst she decorated.

0:16:100:16:13

So that's what I've been doing.

0:16:130:16:15

I've been looking after the children

0:16:150:16:17

while she gets on and we've become good friends.

0:16:170:16:19

And it's just nice to be able to meet people's actual needs

0:16:190:16:23

and not try and force something on them.

0:16:230:16:26

What do you personally get out of this?

0:16:260:16:28

I have really experienced a great blessing from God.

0:16:280:16:31

-You know, he healed me in an amazing way.

-What was wrong with you?

0:16:310:16:35

I suffered from all kinds of symptoms as a result of quite

0:16:350:16:40

a lot of an abusive childhood and stuff like that,

0:16:400:16:44

so quite a lot of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

0:16:440:16:46

How different are you now to what you were before?

0:16:460:16:49

On the outside I probably look the same,

0:16:490:16:52

but inside it's just a phenomenal difference that Jesus has made.

0:16:520:16:56

I'm happy.

0:16:560:16:57

Having been through a lot of dark times myself,

0:16:570:17:00

some of this is like taking some light into people's lives

0:17:000:17:04

where it might be quite dark for them. And that's what we want to do,

0:17:040:17:08

to shine a light into people's lives.

0:17:080:17:11

The one gift that's always welcome at Christmas,

0:20:300:20:32

particularly in my household, is chocolate.

0:20:320:20:34

And York is renowned for its chocolatiers.

0:20:340:20:38

Now, the Rowntree's and the Terry's,

0:20:380:20:41

they were famous families from the city and, as Quakers,

0:20:410:20:43

they were really against the evils of alcohol, so instead they turned

0:20:430:20:48

to making chocolate, which was great because that's a gift for everybody.

0:20:480:20:52

And I'm so glad they did because look at this gorgeous array of chocolates.

0:20:520:20:56

-My mouth is watering.

-Would you like to try one?

0:20:560:20:59

I think I actually would, thank you. That one's got my name on it.

0:20:590:21:02

And talking about wonderful gifts,

0:21:020:21:04

our next piece of music is about an incredible gift, the gift of life.

0:21:040:21:08

The news given to Mary by the angel Gabriel.

0:21:080:21:11

"Eat me," it says.

0:21:110:21:13

# Gloria, gloria, gloria, gloria

0:21:150:21:21

# Gloria

0:21:210:21:25

# The angel Gabriel from heaven came

0:21:250:21:31

# His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame

0:21:310:21:37

# "All hail" said he "thou lowly maiden Mary

0:21:370:21:44

# "Most highly favoured lady"

0:21:440:21:47

# Gloria

0:21:470:21:51

# Gloria, gloria, gloria

0:21:510:21:56

# Gloria, gloria

0:21:560:22:00

# "For know the blessed mother thou shalt be

0:22:000:22:06

# "All generations laud and honour thee

0:22:060:22:12

# "Thy son shall be Emmanuel by seers foretold

0:22:120:22:18

# "Most highly favoured lady"

0:22:180:22:22

# Gloria

0:22:220:22:26

# Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head

0:22:280:22:35

# "To me, be as it pleaseth God" she said

0:22:350:22:42

# "My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name"

0:22:420:22:48

# Most highly favoured lady

0:22:480:22:52

# Gloria

0:22:520:22:55

# Of her Emmanuel, the Christ was born

0:22:570:23:03

# In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn

0:23:030:23:08

# And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say

0:23:080:23:14

# Most highly favoured lady

0:23:140:23:17

# Gloria

0:23:170:23:21

# Gloria, gloria

0:23:210:23:25

# Gloria, gloria, gloria

0:23:250:23:30

# Gloria

0:23:300:23:34

# Gloria

0:23:340:23:37

# Gloria. #

0:23:370:23:42

Would it surprise you to know

0:23:510:23:53

that a third of children in this country didn't realise that Christmas

0:23:530:23:56

was about the birth of Christ?

0:23:560:23:59

Well, Pam's been to Gloucester Cathedral to find out

0:23:590:24:02

about an art initiative aimed at raising awareness,

0:24:020:24:05

both about disability and the true message of Christmas.

0:24:050:24:08

OK, I admit it, I'm terrible at drawing.

0:24:150:24:18

But can you imagine how difficult it would be to create anything

0:24:180:24:23

artistically if you were paralysed from the neck down?

0:24:230:24:27

That disability didn't stop John Clayton from learning to paint,

0:24:270:24:32

and now his pictures are made into cards

0:24:320:24:35

which are sold by the Mouth And Foot Painting Artists,

0:24:350:24:38

a partnership which helps people like John sell their work.

0:24:380:24:42

And this year they have come up with a unique idea for raising

0:24:420:24:45

awareness of the Christmas story.

0:24:450:24:47

They are unveiling a new work of art at Gloucester Cathedral -

0:24:500:24:53

a nativity scene based on one of John's designs

0:24:530:24:56

and created by members of a local youth group.

0:24:560:24:59

John has been paralysed from the neck down

0:25:030:25:06

since a motorbike accident 37 years ago, when he was just 17.

0:25:060:25:11

Because of the severity of my accident,

0:25:110:25:14

I couldn't do a lot in the gymnasium

0:25:140:25:16

so I was acquainted to a canvas and a paintbrush, basically.

0:25:160:25:21

I was asked to just paint an image and I just painted a car,

0:25:210:25:25

or what I thought was a car.

0:25:250:25:27

A two-year-old could have done a better job, but anyway.

0:25:270:25:30

I threw the brush down in disgust and that was that.

0:25:300:25:34

But a few months later, John picked up a paint brush again and

0:25:340:25:38

this time he persevered and discovered he had a natural talent.

0:25:380:25:42

So was it a turning point to find that you could still do something so well?

0:25:420:25:47

It was tremendous.

0:25:470:25:49

The ability and self-worth that you got from actually producing

0:25:490:25:52

something in front of you was... it was life-changing.

0:25:520:25:55

There's no doubt about it.

0:25:550:25:57

John's designs are sold all over the world.

0:25:570:26:00

It's one of his best-selling cards

0:26:020:26:04

that's been chosen for display in the cathedral.

0:26:040:26:07

But it's not John doing the painting.

0:26:090:26:11

Young people from the Stonehouse Youth Club have picked up their brushes.

0:26:110:26:15

Leave that like that and go back with more. How are you getting on?

0:26:150:26:19

-All right?

-Yes.

0:26:190:26:21

'After the initial shock of seeing me, basically, in a wheelchair -

0:26:210:26:25

'because let's face it, youngsters,

0:26:250:26:27

'they don't see many wheelchair people,

0:26:270:26:30

'never mind those that paint with their mouth as well.'

0:26:300:26:32

I think we need to sort the lips out because they are a bit red.

0:26:320:26:36

'I'd like to think that from meeting me, the experience...

0:26:360:26:39

'It's bringing down the barriers of disability as well, which is important.'

0:26:390:26:44

-You see, they've got the yellow coming through as well.

-Yeah.

0:26:440:26:47

With my paintings, I wanted to just be a little prompt and reminder

0:26:510:26:56

to the many that actually do

0:26:560:26:58

look at Christmas as the birth of Christ and hope that it will be

0:26:580:27:03

a gentle reminder of what, really, it's all about.

0:27:030:27:06

Nice big smiles.

0:27:060:27:09

That's perfect.

0:27:090:27:10

What did you think of their artwork?

0:27:100:27:12

To sit down and reconstruct on such a large scale was a huge feat of art.

0:27:120:27:18

I think it's a good symbol because it reminds people our age why

0:27:180:27:22

the true meaning of Christmas is not about just receiving presents.

0:27:220:27:25

I think this has brought our youth club together and it's kind of

0:27:250:27:29

taught us the real meaning of Christmas rather than what the media presents.

0:27:290:27:33

With the ceremony over, John is off to work on designs for next year.

0:27:350:27:40

-So, for you it's Christmas all year round, then?

-It is at my home.

0:27:400:27:45

-You should be very proud of yourself. It's great.

-I am proud.

0:27:450:27:48

THEY PLAY "SILENT NIGHT"

0:30:290:30:32

Well, that's just about it for this week.

0:30:320:30:35

Next time, the lovely Josie will be at home with Bake Off's very own Mary Berry

0:30:350:30:40

to talk about festive family memories and to bake a Christmas cake.

0:30:400:30:44

But for now, we end with a favourite carol

0:30:440:30:47

we can all join in with.

0:30:470:30:49

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS