A Thrill of Hope.

A Thrill of Hope.

Everyone has spent the past month (or perhaps even two) blasting Christmas music in their homes, cars, or stores. Usually these songs are cheery and upbeat, which is great for shopping for Christmas presents. However, sometimes it is necessary to step back from the chaos in order to remember the reason we celebrate. In those times, I listen and soak in the lyrics of “O Holy Night.” It is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I feel as though it is very overlooked. Below are the lyrics. Please just take a minute or two to really read them and concentrate on them.

 

O Holy Night

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divineLed by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friendTruly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

This song leaves me near tears every time I hear it. How beautiful is the story of my Savior’s birth. I love the lines that say, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” My soul realizes its worth in Christ. I am no longer a slave to sin. “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” Gone are the days where fear and worry overtake me. “Christ is the Lord, let us ever praise Thee.” That is my heart’s song to Him.
This Christmas, whether we are weary or not, let us turn to the hope of Jesus and rejoice.
Merry Christmas.
KV
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We’d All Like to be Richard Cory.

We’d All Like to be Richard Cory.

In recent weeks, I have entertained my mind with the meaning of Simon and Garfunkel’s illustrious lyrics. They are one of my favorite bands of all time, which is another post for another day. Simon and Garfunkel were a dynamic duo, and they had influential messages to share through their music.

One song I have listened to repeatedly has been “Richard Cory” from their album, Sounds of Silence. Sounds of Silence is one of the most beautifully and delicately composed albums of all time; each song has a different yet equally penetrating meaning. Richard Cory intrigued me from the first time I heard it because I recognized the poem almost instantly. The poem Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson is one of my favorites. I will post the poem and a snippet of the song lyrics below in order for you to understand what I will be commentating on.

“Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

 

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

 

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

 

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
“Richard Cory” by Simon and Garfunkel

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town
With political connections to spread his wealth around
Born into society, a banker’s only child
He had everything a man could want, power, grace and style

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be

Oh, I wish that I could be
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory

… He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read
“Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head”

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be

Oh, I wish that I could be
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory

Now, obviously Simon and Garfunkel took artistic license with the character of Richard Cory. And while I think that is perfectly okay and even encouraged, that is not what I am going to discuss. I am going to dissect both the poem and song and probably make a hasty generalization. We all want to be Richard Cory, no matter how unhappy it would make us. Let’s start with the poem.

At first glance, the poem is nothing special. It is about a man who seems to have his life all together but ends up committing suicide. Though it is somewhat depressing, I find this poem to be absolutely brilliant. It is minimalistic and simple, yet it teaches an important life lesson. The speaker is saying that everyone wanted to be in Richard Cory’s place. They strived to be like him and almost worked themselves to death. And in spite of his success in life, he calmly killed himself. The ambiguity leaves us to wonder: did they continue to idolize and immortalize him after he died? I am almost certain they did.

The song is an expansion of the poem in that it shows the backstory, if you will, of the people working “in his factory.” After hearing that Richard Cory put a bullet through his head, the singers are still saying, “Oh I wish that I could be Richard Cory!” Why? I would argue that something both the poem and the song teach us is that we will always idolize someone if they have lots of money or esteem. Always. We desperately want to be Richard Cory, even in knowing it will most likely make us unhappy or possibly drive us to insanity. That is something I find truly fascinating. Perhaps this blog post is absolutely pointless, but if it sparked any creative or intellectually stimulating thoughts or perspectives, please comment below and share your thoughts.