true story, lyrics, link to music video and history - first posted 2003
On Christmas Eve, at our home in the 50s and 60s, holiday preparations focused on the Nativity Scene arranged atop the shiny mahogany music center top - sight and sounds of recorded or radio holiday music, glows in memory even 50 years later. How we teamed well for a change, to help set it all up, with Mother in charge: cotton mat for snow and the wooden stable, with the lighted star at top; the icons in plaster and paint, with all but one of the figures set. For days, we'd visited the scene with a prayer and anticipation, gazing longingly at the empty manger like the Mary and Joseph and all the other figures .
Christmas Eve and sunset, Mother calls, "It is time!" - finally the moment for the family procession. Lights out, except for those from the Christmas decorations. With Big Eyes and "Shhhh!' we would tiptoe upstairs on our Mother's heels - holy moment! Removing something from a corner of the cedar chest and turning, and happy, Mother's cupped hands open to reveal a box. Opening the box, a lace handkerchief bundle is withdrawn, and opening the top folds of the handkerchief...the tiny Infant Jesus figure was displayed to our delight!
Big eyes and "Shhhhh!" again ... we began our private family procession , quietly down the stairs in single file, behind Mother to the site of the Manger scene. Then one of us - chosen to bear the infant that year would receive it from Mother and we'd circle around the creche until , at last, the infant figure was placed with reverence into the manger!
Wesoly Swiat! A child is born! A Saviour Who Is Christ the Lord!
The Little Lord Jesus Lays Down His Sweet Head!
We would linger there at the feet of the lovely little Nativity scene, lost in love - and then on to Midnight Mass to share the news with friends and neighbors!
Through most of our childhood, the church was one that had been founded to help new PolishAmericans and the culture and music at the holidays still shared the wishes in three languages; English, Latin and Polish! All is calm, hushed and bright, as the choir repeats what Mary sings- the lullaby or "lulaje" to her new baby:Sleep Little Jesus!
Here are the lyrics in English and Polish for you, and link to the video music, with best wishes for the best Winter Holiday ever, however your beliefs inspire you to express it!
1. Sleep, little Jesus, my little pearl! While Mama Comforts you, tender, caressing!
CHORUS: Lullaby, little one, in loving arms lying,Guarding my darling and stilling Thy crying!
2. When Thou awakenest, Jesus, my treasure, Raisins and almonds I have for Thy pleasure. Chorus: Lullaby, Little One, in loving arms lying / Guarding my darling and stilling Thy crying! 3. High in the heavens a lovely star sees us, But like the shining sun, my little Jesus. Chorus: Lullaby, Little One, in loving arms lying / Guarding my darling and stilling Thy crying!
In the Native Polish
Lulajze Jezuniu (the "Lullaby to Jesus" in Polish)
1.Lulajze Jezuniu, moja perelko! Lulaj ulubione me piescidelko.
Chorus: Lulajze, Jezuniu, lulajze, lulaj! A Ty Go, Matulu, W placzu utulaj.
2. Dam ja Ci stodkiego, Jezu, cukierku, Rodzenkow, migdalow co mam upudetku.
Chorus :Lulajze, Jezuniu, lulajze, lulaj! A Ty Go, Matulu, W placzu utulaj
3. Lulajze przyjema oczom Gwiazdeczko, Lulaj najsliczniejsze swiata Sloneczko.
Chorus: Lulajze, Jezuniu, lulajze, lulaj! A Ty Go, Matulu, W placzu utulaj
There are more stanzas,depending on the translation.
The famous Polish composer and pianist, FREDERICH CHOPIN adapted it for his "Scherzo in B minor, Opus 20." Mrs. Casimir Wierzynski, wife of Chopin's finest biographer, made a literal English prose translation for Henry W. Simon, and he paraphrased it into English verse.
I wish to thank all for the special Christmas moments,and the desire to share them with others in a mode that will make them wish to do the same. Wesoly Swiat!
For and from My Mother, Albina Filanowski Backiel Smith Duffy, who inspires us always, and loves us all, every one!
...and also dedicated to my fellow Polish choir members from Grammar School days, and all the mystically special Christmases we shared and helped to create!