Programatic Christmas Hymns

Have I been doing too much programming lately? (Or maybe I'm just a nerd at heart...?)

I ask because I strongly suspect I was the only person in the congregation today at Church who had the following Tcl-snippet immediately spring to mind when the choir began to sing a particular hymn:

interp alias {} christmas-messagify {} string map -nocase {l {}}

Can you guess the hymn? (Hint: It's a traditional English carol; ca. 16th-century per this source.)

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas time; I find myself wanting to shout Hallelujah the whole season long.

Here are excerpts of three Christmas messages for our collective reflection. Enjoy!

President Thomas S. Monson:

... When we have the spirit of Christmas, we remember Him whose birth we commemorate at this season of the year. We contemplate that first Christmas day, foretold by the prophets of old. You, with me, recall the words from Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel"4—meaning "God with us."

On the American continent, the prophets said: "The time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent ... shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay. ... He shall suffer temptations, and pain. ... And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God."5

Then came that night of nights when the shepherds were abiding in the fields and the angel of the Lord appeared to them, announcing the birth of the Savior. Later, Wise Men journeyed from the East to Jerusalem, "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."6

Times change; years speed by; but Christmas continues sacred. In this marvelous dispensation of the fulness of times, our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. ...

Pope Benedict XVI:

... On this solemn day, the Angel's proclamation rings out once again, inviting us, the men and women of the third millennium, to welcome the Savior. May the people of today's world not hesitate to let him enter their homes, their cities, their nations, everywhere on earth!

In the millennium just past, and especially in the last centuries, immense progress was made in the areas of technology and science. Today we can dispose of vast material resources. But the men and women in our technological age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart. That is why it is so important for us to open our minds and hearts to the Birth of Christ, this event of salvation which can give new hope to the life of each human being.

Wake up, O man! For your sake God became man" (St. Augustine, "Sermo," 185). Wake up, O men and women of the third millennium! At Christmas, the Almighty becomes a child and asks for our help and protection. His way of showing that he is God challenges our way of being human. By knocking at our door, he challenges us and our freedom; he calls us to examine how we understand and live our lives.

The modern age is often seen as an awakening of reason from its slumbers, humanity's enlightenment after an age of darkness. Yet without the light of Christ, the light of reason is not sufficient to enlighten humanity and the world. For this reason, the words of the Christmas Gospel: "the true Light that enlightens every man was coming into this world" (John 1:9) resound now more than ever as a proclamation of salvation. "It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear" ("Gaudium et Spes," No. 22). The Church does not tire of repeating this message of hope reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which concluded 40 years ago.

Men and women of today, humanity come of age yet often still so frail in mind and will, let the Child of Bethlehem take you by the hand! Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and economic relationships. May his love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a "family" called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. ...

President Ezra Taft Benson:

Without Christ there would be no Christmas, and without Christ there can be no fulness of joy.

... And now, my beloved brothers and sisters, what must we do this Christmas season—and always? Why, we must do the same as the Wise Men of old. They sought out the Christ and found Him. And so must we. Those who are wise still seek Him today.

"I would commend you," urged Moroni, "to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written." (Ether 12:41.) And God has provided the means—the holy scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon—that all who seek may know that Jesus is the Christ.

... What a gift it would be to receive at Christmastime a greater knowledge of the Lord. What a gift it would be to share that knowledge with others. ...

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Comments fixed

Obviously not a lot of people comment here, but for the handful of you that may have tried recently I want to apologize for your inability to comment.

Comments were broken since sometime in late-October or early-November. (I didn't realize it until I got two separate emails on Monday after posting about programatic Christmas hymns). I thought I'd permanently fixed the problem Monday afternoon, but it didn't quite stay fixed like I intended. ;-)

I've since found & squashed what I think was the final bug in the commenting code. (All a fall out from my trying to out smart the automated comment spammers a while back...)

— Michael A. Cleverly

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