Tomorrow shall be my dancing day; I would my true love did so chance to see the legend of my play, to call my true love to my dance; sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love – this have I done for my true love.
This traditional English carol very likely has Medieval origins, though the version we use now dates back to the nineteenth-century. It is one of the longer Christmas carols and follows the course of the Apostles’ Creed’s section about Jesus. Beginning with his miraculous birth, each verse narrates part of the wonder that was Christ’s life, death and resurrection – all ending with the same chorus.
Hearing this song as a child, I did not understand it, though I loved it. I thought perhaps the singer was speaking to their “true love” in the popular culture sense. It was not until much later that I learned that the speaker in the song is Christ himself and Christ is speaking to his true love – the church.
So yes, it is a love song. Yes, we, the body of Christ, are the object of affection. However, the dance into which we are invited is so much more than a wedding day jig.
We are invited into Christ’s dance, which is the salvation story. It is still happening all around us. It appears when we least expect it. So the question is this: will you be a wall flower or join the dance?
Then was I born of a virgin pure, of her I took fleshly substance. Thus was I knit to man’s nature to call my true love to my dance. Sing, O my love, O my love, my love, my love – this have I done for my true love.