Saturday, December 16, 2017

IN HIGHLAND PASTURES - Writing a Christmas Carol

Every year, I write a Christmas Carol for my family, friends and people I have worked with throughout the years.   I send it as my Christmas Card ... and feature a talented friend/singer ... Every year, I wonder ... can I write a carol that actually means something? ... that actually contributes something?  ...

I am always afraid that everything has been said about Christmas and I am always surprised when something takes hold in my mind and the lyrics appear.  This year was a remarkable spiritual journey through the lyrics and as I traveled through the story of Christmas.

In preparation to the actual construction of a melody, I read 100s of old Christmas poems in the public domain.   So much of the language of 100-year-old religious poetry is archaic, feels old-fashioned, or dwells on the thought that somehow I am not worthy and sinful ... but usually, there will be something so beautiful, that I will be drawn to a thought.

This year, I was inspired by Margaret Deland's 1907 poem  "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night" .  As I contemplated the role of the shepherds and sheep in the Christmas Story, I began to question who I am in the Christmas story ... "Am I like the shepherd or the sheep?  Do I run to the manger or sleep?"

What I realized is that no matter who I am today spiritually ... no matter how Christianity is seen in the world today, this story is part of who I am as a person because I was raised in the Christian faith.   And, every Christmas, I have a choice to embrace the story joyfully or reject it by my a humbug attitude or apathy.

This year, I choose to rejoice.

Down through the ages the story still rings
I will cling to the message of hope it brings
Angels are singing 'Gloria!'  Bringing 'Good News'  Gloria!
Peace to All upon the Earth.
Love comes to us with the Savior's Birth.