Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Child Is This ?

I've never been a big fan of Christmas. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll say I'm a scrooge, and I suppose they are right. Part of this is most likely due to the sad fact that December 25th is also my birthday. For the most part, this was a huge rip-off when I was younger. Did I get twice the gifts at Christmas time as people often suggested? No, I was lucky if people even remembered my birthday. And the whole Santa Claus thing has always totally ticked me off...people basically lying to their kids and trying to get them to really believe this whole pagan fantasy thing, whilst side-lining the REAL reason for Christmas: Christ.

But that's not the whole story. Some of my most stressful and sad memories were formed during the holidays. Seems like a lot of people die around this time of year, and we also tend do a lot of "reflecting" as the year-end draws close, making us miss people who died during the year, or even years before.

And then there is the shopping, and the traffic, and the crappy weather that sets in this time of year in Nashville (cold, gray, wet and hardly ever white). And worst of all, there are the "Social Events" and all the STRESS that they bring with them. Yep, I must admit, I pretty much hate it. "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch".

But then, musically, I do have this little soft spot for it. There's the "Carol Candlelight" services that are always beautiful and awe inspiring. There's the radio playing John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" and ELP's "I Believe in Father Christmas". I even like the Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling" (shhhh, don't tell). And although I despise the horrendous "Christmas elevator music" you hear while shopping, there have been many good Christmas albums I have listened to over the years. Just last year I discovered what has to be the most unique one ever, an album called "Chris Squire's Swiss Choir" which blends an adult choir from Switzerland with Yes bassist Chris Squire's arranging a vocal skill, along with some other great progressive rock players. Great stuff.

Of course the real reason for Christmas is important and vital. I believe that choosing to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important decision a person can ever make.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we should also celebrate the Reason for his coming, and how much his life and sacrifice means to mankind. It is everything. He is the way, the truth, and the light, and yes for a time he was also a precious, helpless baby.

What child is this?
Emmanuel. God is with us. The word become flesh.

here is a direct link to the mp3 for non-shockwave environments

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear for sinners here,
The silent Word is pleasing.

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come peasant king to own Him,
The King of kings, salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

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