Through the ages, the Christmas story has served as an important source of musical inspiration. Since the early Middle Ages, Elements of the Christmas story have been depicted musically in both liturgical and lay settings. Besides the Christmas carols, which usually relate to a particular episode of the Christmas story, there are, of course, the Nativity plays, which present a more concrete plot. Christmas music has always been closely interwoven with the musical traditions of the country in which it arose, more so than music associated with other Christian Holidays, as Christmas has always been a time of celebration in which everyone – not only churchgoers, but also those who stayed behind in the village square and sang their songs – could take part. The boundary between sacred and secular is thus blurred in Christmas music.
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