White Christmas

Growing up I thought White Christmas was a movie about needing snow in Hollywood for Christmas.  Last year some friends of ours invited us to watch it on Christmas Eve with their family.  The show opens up with a scene of an Army unit in Europe, 1944, saying farewell to their commander on Christmas Eve.

The movie opens with a scene where the commander got to say goodbye and pass along a few words to his unit.  External stressors often bring people together.  And so the military is a great environment for building camaraderie.  Those farewells are difficult.

At the end of World War II I imagine there were a lot of feelings about those whom they served with.  There are several people on my list of those whom I served with who, if they called, I’d drop everything to go take care of them.

Essentially that’s the story of White Christmas.  It’s not the story of a holiday made better by some providence of weather.  It’s a story about Army buddies taking care of other Army buddies.  It’s about being the force to be a miracle for when one of them has a tough time after coming home.

A critic at the time complimented the movie for the vibrant colors enabled by the Vistavision technology, but said that it’s a shame the content on the screen wasn’t similarly vibrant.  Despite the comment, the movie did well at the box office.  The movie does well with me.

On Sunday I wrote about my new favorite Christmas song and how it reminds me of the Christmases where I had very, very little.  Yesterday I wrote about how I make bread as a way to share the wonderful blessings I have been given.  There’s something wonderful about White Christmas.  It may not be in the music.  It may not be in the acting.  It may not be in the dance numbers—though I don’t have a problem with any of those things in the movie.  What’s wonderful about it is the way it tells the story of those whom you care about.

We know from the atonement that the Savior cares for each one of us, and just as the characters in movie work to pull off a miracle for someone they care about, the Savior works behind the scenes pull off the miracles that allow us to return to our heavenly home where we’ll be able to see Him–dressed in white.

Bread Day

Yesterday I wrote about my new favorite Christmas song. It reminds me of the years when I didn’t have much I could share. Things have evolved since those days and now I’ve been blessed with a lot of things to share and surprisingly, more time as well.

Each year on Christmas Eve I make bread and the family helps to deliver it to friends and neighbors. Now, we’re not talking just a few loaves. I usually end up making somewhere between 30 and 40. It’s another sign of the great blessings I appreciate. That’s a lot of friends to say thank you for, and that’s not even all of them!

Merry Christmas!

My New Favorite Christmas Song

Christmas time is where I spend time reflecting.  Some people think I look sad as I drink deeply from a wide swath of memories.  Every year I try to find a new song or new version of a Christmas song to enjoy the memories of that particular pondering.  This year I found it.

Sara Bareillis’ Love is Christmas, is simply beautiful.  It reminds me of all those Christmases that were hard either because a lack of income or a lack of family.  It helps me to appreciate where I am now and that’s a great feeling to have this time of year.

Joy to the World is NOT a Christmas Song

img_20141223_144803This is one of those posts that gets me labeled as the crazy relative at family gatherings.  Yes, I’m that guy.  Sometimes at church we discuss talents and when we do I get to share that I have the ability to take any normal conversation and make it awkward faster than anyone else.  It’s not a talent I’m proud of per-se, but it’s one I’ve come to live with.

So, this is one of those things.  Joy to the World is a wonderful song, but it is not a Christmas song.  People who sing it at Christmas time are woefully ignorant of what century they live in and are singing about.

Jesus Once of Humble Birth shows the contrast of Christ’s comings.  The first one was under very humble circumstances.  The second will be in his glory.  Which one does Joy to the World speak of?  Let’s take a look at Jesus Once of Humble Birth:

1. Jesus, once of humble birth,
Now in glory comes to earth.
Once he suffered grief and pain;
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Now he comes on earth to reign.
2. Once a meek and lowly Lamb,
Now the Lord, the great I Am.
Once upon the cross he bowed;
Now his chariot is the cloud.
Now his chariot is the cloud.
3. Once he groaned in blood and tears;
Now in glory he appears.
Once rejected by his own,
Now their King he shall be known.
Now their King he shall be known.
4. Once forsaken, left alone,
Now exalted to a throne.
Once all things he meekly bore,
But he now will bear no more.
But he now will bear no more.
Again, this hymn shows the contrast between Christ’s arrival for his mortal ministry and his second coming.  Let’s see which even Joy to the World speaks of (based on the lyrics):
1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints, and Saints and angels sing.
2. Rejoice! Rejoice when Jesus reigns,
And Saints their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
3. No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found,
Far as the curse was found,
Far as, far as the curse was found.
4. Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High,
While Israel spreads abroad
Like stars that glitter in the sky,
And ever worship God,
And ever worship God,
And ever, and ever worship God.
Ok, Sir Isaac Watts.  What were you writing about here?  If verse 3 wasn’t the clincher, I don’t know what is.  We’ve definitely got sin and sorrow now, but we wont at the second coming.  If you think this is a Christmas song.  You’re wrong.
img_1525_31368Now, if you’re feeling sad because you’ve been doing it wrong don’t worry.  You’re in good company.  I’m right along there with you.  I love this song, especially around the holidays.
But, if I’m not good enough company for you to feel comforted then I’ve got another bit of news for you.  There’s a lot of people who are wrong about this song with us.  According to Wikipedia it’s the most published Christmas song in the world.  That’s a lot of people being wrong together.
So, enjoy singing the world’s most popular second coming song during the part of the year when we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Being wrong about what you’re singing and when might just be another sign that we all need to repent and that can use the Savior in our lives.