Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green; here we come a-wandering so fair to be seen. Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too; and God bless you and send you a happy New Year, and God send you a happy New Year.
This is one of the first carols I specifically remember learning in grade school. We sang it as a part of our holiday concert when I was in first or second grade. Interestingly, they didn’t teach us what “wassail” actually was. I can’t imagine why.
Attributed to the nineteenth-century, this classic song is likely much older. It relays the beloved, time-honored tradition of caroling through the snow during the Christmas season.
And back in the olden days, before the wonders of radiators and central heating, the younglings who would run about in the cold, needing to get warm. The adults at each house would let them sing next to the hearth for a song and give them a bit of “wassail,” a drink just alcoholic enough to make their toes feel warm.
2020 is definitely not the year to revive the tradition of going door-to-door with the intention of inviting one another into our houses, but it is certainly a year when spreading Christmas cheer from afar, including by singing, might just be worth revisiting. Whether it is this song or another, there are so many that will spread joy and hope to a world that is in such desperate need of it.
So be safe, but do find your way to do your “wassailing” and show some Christmas love to your neighbors this year and always.