Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
A World Without Christmas/A Christmas Without Music
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT
Free to Phantom Tollbooth
I love the song "Imagine," by John Lennon, and I even experienced a bit of guilty pleasure over the strange duet version Elton John and Dolly Parton sort of pulled off at the recent 2005 CMA Awards. However, I never really wanted to "imagine there's no heaven." How about this: Imagine there's no Christmas! It's not easy, even if you try. And if A World Without Christmas is tough, try imagining a Christmas without music!
Ever since that heavenly host of angels appeared and joyously sang to shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, Christmas and Christmas music have gone hand in hand. Good Christmas music has a way of miraculously ushering in the Christmas spirit. It transports our souls to that heavenly realm where angels abide.
My very earliest musical memory of Christmas was the memory of being a young boy of four lying on the sofa, looking at the Christmas tree lights with my eyes squinted to make the lights more blurry, and thus, more mysterious, while George Beverly Shea's Christmas Hymns played on my mom and dad's record player. I alternated between that one and Ken Griffin Plays the Organ at Christmas over and over again, until the rest of my family's Christmas spirits turned sour.
Having grown up in the prairies of Canada, I can readily relate to the wintry aspects associated with an ideal Christmas, as it is presented in enchanted stories, quaint, old-fashioned movies and romantic songs. Living in California makes me long for Saskatchewan snow and the chilly north wind as it blows. At Christmastime, I used to like to hear the snow crunch beneath my feet. I used to love to watch the billowing snow blowing up against the night skyline, under the beckoning light of towering street lamps. Beside every Saskatchewan street corner is a song accompanying the scene---songs like Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Vaughn Monroe's "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let is Snow;" and Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song." Now that I am residing in Bakersfield California, where snow is as scarce as reindeer beaks, I turn to these songs to give me Christmas goose bumps and to send seasonal chills down my spine.
I'll never forget the warm feeling I got in my heart as my dad drove the family down icy, snowy roads of Saskatchewan, across the border and all the way to my grandpa and grandma's Montana ranch in the midst of a Christmas blizzard. I was about 5 years of age, and I lay half asleep in the back seat when the Harry Simone Choir came on the radio, with their classic rendition of Little Drummer Boy. Now, every time I hear that song, I am 5 years old once again, with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.
One Christmas, when I was a little older, but nonetheless no wiser, my family and I found ourselves snowbound on our family farm, situated miles from Saskatoon, and right on the snow-blown shores of the Saskatchewan River. Snowmobiles were the only viable form of transportation, but we had no way of getting fuel to run them. The house was not well-insulated and we couldn't afford to run the furnace too fiercely, so we kept warm with blankets, eggnog and music. 33 1/3 RPM LP records, like John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas album, Evie's C'mon Ring Those Bells, and Sunshine and Snowflakes, from a kids Christmas rock band by the name of Sunshine and Snowflakes, kept our spirits warm as it kept the season bright.
I've had a few blue Christmases in my life, but thanks to Elvis's "Blue Christmas", none" Bluer than Blue"---that got me through!
I've had Christmases that have absolutely rocked, and when they weren't quite rockin' enough, I could always depend on Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" and Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" to rock it up a notch. Or when I needed the rock to take me to "The Rock of Ages," I could always depend on revolutionary Christian rocker, Larry Norman's lesser known, but every bit as rockin' "It's Christmastime."
When I wanted to find a humble place in my soul-a place as humble as the manger that held the Christ child---I turned to the Carpenter's "Little Altar Boy"-----or, Andy Williams version, every bit as wonderful a rendition.
When my Christmas was wonderful, but not quite wonderful enough, I turned to Andy William's It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
When I wanted to bring out the charitable Christmas giver in myself, I turned to Let Them Know It's Christmas by every 80s celebrity singer in the whole world gullible enough to believe the money generated from the song would go towards feeding the hungry in Africa.
When my Christmas was becoming too artificially cheerful, and I needed something to make it a little more haunting, I turned to Johnny Cash's "The Christmas Spirit," (which, though I'm arguably the biggest Cash fan in the world, made me wonder if it was recorded on Halloween), or that wonderfully creepy duet arrangement of "Little Drummer Boy" performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
I can't imagine a world without Christmas, though I tried to, for the sake of the song, "A World Without Christmas." And just as I can't imagine a world without Christmas, or a world without Christ, I can't imagine a Christmas without music. Let me be clear: Jesus is the reason for the season, and nothing can outshine the wonderful message of a baby savior born to save us from our sins and to give us an eternal, abundant life. But God and His heavenly hosts set this truism in motion on the very first Christmas night: Music makes the world of Christmas go round.
****Help yourself to a few more free mp3 Christmas songs from Dr. BLT's, aka Santa Shrink's stocking stuffer song bag:
Waiting for Wings (A Christmas
Tribute to Jimmy Stewart)
Heaven's Favorite Angel
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
We Three Kings/The Wandering
What Land is This?:
Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!