The Roman Church observes the Baptism of the Lord today, thus ending the Christmas season. At least the continuous bulk of it. Liturgists are correct to note that the final Christmas feast, the Presentation of the Lord, is forty days removed from the Nativity. Usually Presentation is buried on a weekday–as it is this year. But it remains a part of the Church’s observance. I think of the Christmas season as an amoeba with a long pseudopod touching that February 2nd feast.
How much of the Christmas character remains for today’s feast? For musicians who use the propers, you know your antiphons are taken from the New Testament, especially the Gospels, as they have been for most of this season. (Next week, you shift to psalm texts.) But for today, what psalms have you used for Entrance and Communion? Have you given thought to the use of the Messianic texts of the Psalter–the worship that alludes to God as King? Psalm 93? Psalm 110? Or the usual Christmas psalmody of 96-97-98? Were I in your shoes, I might consider yoking the text of the canticle in Isaiah 42:8ff, an echo of Psalm 98, to that entrance antiphon. Imagine the “thunder” of the Father’s voice linked to verse 13:
The Lord goes forth like a hero, like a warrior he stirs up his ardor; He shouts out his battle cry, against his enemies he shows his might.
And for those who prefer songs and hymnody, are you focused on the Scriptures and picking baptism songs? Or has one lone Christmas carol, a pseudopod from our festive season, made it to your musical lineup today?