December 18, 2003

Christmas Music... and Love

I'm back with a second post in a row. Probably my favorite thing about Christmas is music. In fact, I often listen to Christmas music during the year. I'm certainly not the strongest singer in the FBC choir, but I get so much enjoyment out of it. Singing with such a large group of talented singers is truly a privilege.

One piece we are singing this year was new to me, "What Shall We Give?" It's a Catalonian Carol, arranged by Mack Wilberg. It asks the question, what could we possibly offer to a Savior?
What shall we give to the Babe in the manger?
What shall we offer the Child in the stall?
Incense and spices and gold we've a-plenty,
Are these the gifts for the King of us all?
The second verse paints a beautiful word picture of the life of Jesus. I can see these pictures in my mind as if they were before me on a movie screen.
What shall we give to the Boy in the temple?
What shall we offer the Man by the Sea?
Palms at his feet and hosannas uprising,
Are these for Him that will carry the tree?
The last verse (where the altos finally come in), answers the question. We cannot possibly offer anything material that would be worthy for a Savior. We can only pour out ourselves and our lives.
What shall we give to the Lamb who was offered,
Rising the third day and shedding His Love?
Tears for His mercy we'll weep at the manger;
Bathing the Infant come down from above.
I love how this piece takes us from the manger to the cross and back to the manger again. I think it's interesting that the last verse says "shedding His Love." We are so used to hearing "shedding His blood."

"What Shall We Give?" and another anthem we are singing this year, "Love Divine, All Love Excelling," have had me thinking about love a lot this year - love of family, friends, the love of God. "Love Divine" is not usually associated with Christmas, (set to the tune of Hyfrydol - "Come thou Long Expected Jesus"). As I have listened to this anthem (on a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD), I have discovered that it really is perfect for Christmas, because it is truly a love song for a Savior. The last verse of the song, "...Till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise." When singing this piece, I think I get a glimpse of what it is to be "lost in wonder, love, and praise" like we will be in Heaven.

I am so looking forward to Christmas Day when I will be surrounded by the people that I love and who love me. We will have my parents, Patrick's parents, Patrick's brother and his wife, Patrick's sister, and Patrick's grandparents all under our roof. I don't know if all those people will ever be together again. I want to cherish each moment. When we were on our way back from Patrick's grandparents at Thanksgiving, I said that when I go there I just feel loved all over. That's what family is supposed to be - people who make you feel loved all over.

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