Songs of Christmas…Auld Lang Syne

This is part 31 of an Advent/Christmas series titled “Songs of Christmas.” For other parts of the series see the index. The index also contains the introduction for the series.

Well, today we bring the year 2016 to a close. We also bring this series, “Songs of Christmas” to an end. And, we are closing out “Songs of Christmas” with a song that isn’t a Christmas song at all. But, it is a song of the season. We opened this series with an Advent song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and we are closing it with a New Year’s Eve song, “Auld Lang Syne.”

Many people get confused about the song. Perhaps that is because our traditions that encircle the song are confusing. Because we sing this song after “the ball drops” and we begin a new year, that it is a song ushering out the old and welcoming in the new. Well, that is half right. It is a song where we are saying goodbye to the old. Truthfully, I am not even sure why we sing the song. It tends to make, at least some of us cry even though we don’t know what it means and if you are anything like me, you don’t know all the words either. Just so you know, the title roughly translates as, “for old time’s sake.” It also doesn’t help the confusion when the words of the song have evolved some over time.

In 1788, the Scottish poet Robert Burns sent the Scots Musical Museum “Auld Lang Syne” in the form of a poem. He claimed it was an ancient folk song but that he was the first one to commit it to paper. He claimed that the song had passed from generation to generation, from parent to child for many, many years.

Burns’ claim of an ancient folk song was true but it was not true that he was the first to write the song down. The first known writing of the song was by James Watson in 1711.

There is also a belief that the tune we sing the song to today, “Roud 1694,” is not the song originally used with “Auld Lang Syne.” That tune, at least for now, is lost to history.

So, how did a song that has a murky history and nothing at all to do with New Year’s Eve become the song of New Year’s Eve? Well it probably has something to do with Guy Lombardo. In 1929 Lombardo and his band played “Auld Lang Syne” as transitional music while performing at New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel during a New Year’s Eve broadcast. It was played just after midnight, and heard over radio and television airwaves, inadvertently spawning a global tradition.   Today, “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the most recognizable songs around the world.

There us one way I believe we can put “Auld Lang Syne” to good use as a New Year’s song. Perhaps it could be our first New Year’s resolution (a series we will start tomorrow), to reunite with those friends, family and acquaintances before they are forgotten. We just might find true blessing from God in the words and in the re-acquaintance.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


The Story Behind the Song – Auld Lang Syne

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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