Do You Hear What I Hear?
The title of my story gives you an idea that my words this week will be about Christmas Music. And when I ask if you hear what I hear, it is near impossible to answer “no” at this time of year. Every place you go, the music of the season is playing. Grocery stores, elevators – even on some streets, music is broadcast for the pleasure of those passing by.
Now, you may be wondering if I am going to boo-hoo the playing of Christmas Music. Well not really. I will have to say I enjoy hearing the music playing, especially if it is more traditional music and doesn’t start before Halloween. The new season’s music is okay, but I still enjoy the old favorites. It makes me nostalgic and remember Christmas from long past.
One of the singers I enjoy is Perry Como. For those of you reading this who do not know who Perry Como was… well, he was a soft voiced singer that started out as a barber in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. From the early 1930s until the late seventies, he made singing seem easy. I remember his song, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. The song could be heard playing outside the Cooey Bentz Company in SouthWheeling. In the window of the store, animated elves and a mechanical Santa moved for the viewing pleasure of those passing by. \Reindeer and Elves worked to help load Santa’s sled for his special night. Somehow that brings back my earliest Christmas memories.
Music has always been an important part of my life. I have written about that fact on several occasions. While riding in my truck, or working on a story at home, I like to have music playing in the back ground. I don’t always consistently hear it, but it still has a soothing effect on me.
Do you still watch the annual Christmas special, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? I know it is an old kids’ Christmas show that first ran in 1964. It has been on television every year since its first airing on NBC. I would be surprised if most people could not name at least one character from the show. Hermey, the elf who wanted to be a dentist. Yukon Cornelius, outdoorsman of the north. And, of course, the Abominable Snow Monster, Bumbles. But what I remember, most of all, was the song sung by Burl Ives – who by the way was portrayed by a snowman in the film. He sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and, his version is probably the most well-known. Now, in reality, the man who made the song so popular in the first place was a singing cowboy named Gene Autry. He first sang the song in October of 1949 on his CBS radio show, Melody Ranch. Besides Santa Claus, I would have to say Rudolph is one of the most recognized characters associated with Christmas.
Each year, about this time, another Christmas song written in 1942, by Irving Berlin, is often heard playing in stores – White Christmas. Twelve years after it was written in 1954, Bing Crosby starred in a movie of the same name and sang the title song. It has become a Christmas tradition and is viewed by millions on television each year.
Many of the songs we hear at Christmas are meant to be fun and enjoyable, such as Rudolph’s song or Dashing through the Snow. How about “Here Comes Santa Claus?” These songs, along with many others, bring a sense of Christmas with trees and gifts and kids laughing. There is no other time of the year when songs celebrating a holiday are so prominently heard in the world.
But, we also should remember there are songs that help us to celebrate the real meaning of this time of year. The words to Silent Night Holy Night were written in 1818, nearly two hundred years ago. Yet, with the passage of time, the song’s words and meanings still tell of a night of great peace and glory for mankind.
In the song “What Child is This,” written in 1865, we can almost see, within our minds, the reality of the words that tell of the child sleeping in his mother’s arms. Nearby Angels and Wise Men were keeping watch over this Precious Child and His Mother.
Many of the traditional songs that tell the story of the first Christmas were written a very long time ago. Still, their meanings and enlightened stories bring us peace of mind and joy when we heard them each holiday season.
There may not have been songs of joy sung that first night Jesus came into the world. I believe it was quiet in the stable at our Savior’s arrival. But, in nearby fields, Angels heralded shepherds of Hiscoming that night long ago. Today, we pause and remember how the Bible tells us of a child and His birth that night in Bethlehem. He came into this world with no more than each of us. Yet, in the few years He was among those of his time, He touched so many with His kindness and promise of a better future. That message and kindness still resonate with us today.
Perhaps those Christmas Carols are words the Angels may have sung that night while they watched over Him in the Silence of the Night.
A night that became a Holy Night. A night when, on high, Angels sang to the world, Peace on Earth and Good Will to All. That child brought each of us a gift, if we accept it.
I leave you this week with words of holiday joy from Mary and myself, and the staff of the Wetzel Chronicle. If you remember, when I began my story this week, I told you of Perry Como and his song, “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The final words of his song is our gift to each of you. “He will bring us Goodness and Light.” Merry Christmas from Through the Lens.