12.17.2011

our musical advent calendar, day 17

Inspired by Pinterest, Anna wanted to do an advent calendar. And inspired by Advent Conspiracy, she wanted to make it about presence, not presents. Ian had a brilliant idea to use music. We each picked out some of our favorite Christmas songs and will be counting down with festive tunes.

day 17. "I Saw Three Ships" - Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas


The first time I heard this song, what stuck out to me was the strangeness of a Christmas song about ships. Nowhere in the nativities I’d seen were there any sailing vessels (although I’m sure various nativity sets with new additions every year will get there, if they haven’t already). I imagined a little maritime parade, with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus doing the pageant wave to everyone in Bethlehem as they passed. I still don’t really understand it, but the repetition with q&a verses to a catchy tune keep this song playing in my head all season long.
—Anna

I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three?
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
And what was in those ships all three?
On Christmas day in the morning.

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas day in the morning.

musical advent
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