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December 12, 2005
Christmas: Sing Alleluiah!
Christmastime. It's the most wonderful time of the year. Can you smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Do you hear the jingle bells ring? Are you begging the weatherman to let in snow? On your Christmas wish list are you writing, 'All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth?'
Yes, the Christmas songs have been pounding the airwaves since the week before Thanksgiving. Oh sure, it would be nice to have a White Christmas. In fact, Irving Berlin, who wrote the song in 1940, knew plenty about white Christmases, having spent his early childhood in his home country of Serbia. Incidentally, the composer of the most famous modern Christmas song was a Jew, a patriotic (God Bless America) man who loved America the melting pot. I am not aware of Irving Berlin ever raising his voice against the display of a creche or a cross on public land.
While most songs are about the season, what about the reason for the season? In recent times, I can think of one song that gets it, Mary, Did You Know. (Written by Buddy Greene and Michael Lowry, first released in 1992 by Michael English)
What do you suppose passed as Christmas music when Irving Berlin was born in 1888? I don't think Alvin & the Chipmunks were cutting records back then.
In the nineteenth century, these following songs were written to celebrate the birth of Christ: Silent Night (1818), O Holy Night (1847), It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (1849), We Three Kings of Orient Are (1857), and O Little Town of Bethlehem (1868). In the century that preceded that one, these songs were written: Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (1739), Hallelujah Chorus (1741), and O Come All Ye Faithful (1743).
What is the message of these songs? This is from O Little Town of Bethlehem:
And from We Three Kings of Orient Are:
Jesus came to earth as a child but also as King, God and Sacrifice.
Why did those three kings of the Orient bow before this babe born in a manger? He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Why would angels sing upon His arrival in the small town of Bethlehem? They were created to worship and adore Him.
And why did He come to mankind? To cast out our sin by dying for us. A manger held Him at birth, a cross Him held him at death and a stone rolled away when he rose again. Sing Alleluia.
A final thought. The song Silent Night has an interesting story behind it. Austria's Father Joseph Mohr was in preparation for Christmas Eve service when he discovered the church organ was broken. As he pondered what to do, he felt in his spirit to write a song that could be sung without music. 'Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright...'
What's broken in your life? Will you allow circumstances to get you down? Or will you, like Father Mohr, seek to bring a good result out of a bad situation. Long after the Christmas lights come down this year, will you allow the light of heaven to continue to show you the way through your troubles and into the peace you seek?
And yes, have yourself a merry little Christmas.
J. James Estrada 12 12 05