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Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

by Barbara Franklin on December 14, 2020

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

My family and I had challenges celebrating Advent (my favorite season of the year) while we lived in Asia for 25 years.  We learned that everyone in the world, Christian or not, celebrates Christmas with Santas, candy canes and artificial trees, but there is not much of Advent in Vietnam, Laos or Thailand, so it was not easy to nurture and hold onto that feeling of impending joy that we Christians always feel during the sacred season.

During my last few years in Thailand, I learned how to facilitate a beautiful dance meditation practice called DANCEmandala.  It was developed in Chiang Mai by a Thai woman and is Buddhist in essence. For my certification as a Facilitator, I had to research and make a presentation related to dance. It was just before Christmas, and I was feeling a bit sad about celebrating Advent alone.  I wanted to share it with my dancer friends, but what did Advent have to do with DANCEmandala?

Then I remembered my favorite Christmas carol: Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day – a song so old that no one can find the original.  They believe it grew out of the Mystery Plays performed in public squares in the Middle Ages to explain Christianity to the illiterate population. It was a time of chivalry and romantic love, and Love was viewed as endless devotion, service and self-sacrifice. In this carol, Jesus describes his life both as a dance and as a gift to his True Love. And his True Love, of course, is the Church, it’s us!!!

Researching a bit more, I made an even more marvelous discovery.  The word “carol” originally meant a circle dance.  Carols were dances!  So this was my presentation, and it gave me a feeling something like completion, that feeling you get when the people and places and cultures you love are stitched together into a beautiful tapestry of joy.

Here are the first three stanzas of the carol, and a link so you can hear it all.  It begins on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day!

I would my true love did so chance

To see the version of my play

To call my True Love to my dance

Sing oh! My love, my love, my love! This have I done for my True Love!

 

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 oh! My love, my love, my love! This have I done for my True Love!

 

In a manger laid and wrapped I was

So very poor, this was my chance

Betwixt an ox and silly poor ass

To call my True Love to my dance

Sing oh! My love, my love, my love! This have I done for my True Love!

 

https://youtu.be/0VTkJSIXXzU

Tags: advent


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