This year, millions of viewers of the Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concerts on PBS will be celebrating the joyous culture of Christmas in Ireland.
This unique giftbook introduces the story of three Irish holiday traditions, as shared by acclaimed film and television actor, Neal McDonough. Each tradition is an opportunity to make Christmas more meaningful for ourselves and others, wherever we live and whatever our heritage.
One of these traditions is placing a lighted candle in the window--a reminder that long ago the Holy Family sought shelter but found no room at the inn. Over the centuries, a candle in the window has also become a symbol of openheartedness, signaling to the poor and downtrodden that they can find refuge within.
Another world-renowned Irish tradition is adorning the house with branches of holly. But a simple wreath of thorned green leaves and bright red berries is more than decoration. It recalls the inevitable sorrows of life and assures us that heartache can give way to hope, joy, and peace at Christmastime.
Finally, in Ireland, Christmas is the time to prepare homes and hearts for the new year. Besides cleaning the barn and whitewashing the cottage, the holidays are for remembering others, reconciling differences, and returning kindnesses. Even the customary Christmas morning dip in the icy sea is a chance to be washed clean and begin anew.
The book also includes a piano/vocal score for "Come to Him This Holy Night," performed in concert by The Tabernacle Choir with Mr. McDonough. These new lyrics were written to the tune of a beloved Irish folk song and connects each of the Irish traditions to the timeless account of the Nativity. It's a unique gift of story and song that will bring Christmas joy to people everywhere.