GUEST BLOG: “The Power of CHRISTmas Music!” by Thomas R. Vozzella
Date: December 18, 2013
THE POWER OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC! by Thomas R. Vozzella
Christmas, the name and holiday designated December 25th. Dissected, its meaning is Christ’s Mass, from Old English, “Crīstesmæss”. December 25t h is the annual commemoration of Jesus’ birth some 2,000 years ago. Just as we remember Washington, Lincoln, President’s Day, Veteran’s, Patriot’s, MLK, Native American Day, St. Patrick, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Nicholas and the many other days designated as historical commemorations. So, is the birth of Jesus – Christmas.
The historical document of the birth of Jesus is the New Testament of the Bible, one of two books, which was created from manuscripts, as documented by various writers.
By the way – was Jesus, the little baby boy, born in a stable, a cave, or a barn? He was born in a “manger” (Luke 2:7), which could be found in any of those places. Maybe there was hay. However, it would really be ridiculous to sing “Away in a” cave...now wouldn’t it?
Other variations in the Christmas story:
* Mary riding a donkey is not mentioned in the Bible. Nor is there a donkey skipping for joy (Rutter’s Donkey Carol). She presumably walked from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
* The three wise men, “...kings from orient are”, were at the birth of Jesus. In fact, they were not. It took them around two years to get to greet Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Who, by that time was probably living in a house. Another interesting point is that they were not kings at all. They were wise men, fortune tellers, mystics, magicians, etc. Additionally, there is no record of how many there were. There could have been three, or there could have been more or less.
* Then there are the “shepherds, abiding in the fields” (Luke 2:8-14). If compared to today’s workers, they would be sewer rats, similar to Norton from the Jackie Gleason Show. Historically shepherding was not a noble profession. Shepherds have been glamorized to the point that they are heroes in the story. At first, they didn’t even believe the angels. There response was, “right”!
To add to this confusion – there is the Little Drummer Boy, talking animals, singing vegetables, Amahl and other fantastic depictions of the birth of Jesus. There are even questions as to December 25th being his birth date. December 25th was designated as the commemoration date by the Roman Church, which dominated Christendom for centuries. Jesus was probably born sometime in *September (Luke 2:7-8), when school starts for children each year - interesting coincidence.
All the songs, carols and choral compositions of Christmas highlight the mystery of Christ’s birth. Fact or fiction, the music of Christmas is an expression of joy, and gives us pause for thought. If it were not for the holiday (Holy Day) music, there would be less joy. Winter would be cold, dark and gloomy. What a great gift, no matter what your orientation, be it Hindu (Ithareya Upanish 1.1.3), Muslim (Surah lvii:27 and iv: 171), Christian, Jewish (Jesus was a Jewish carpenter), or any other world religions. Although these religions know of, and some even refer to Jesus, everyone who so chooses, can claim Jesus as Lord and Savior, regardless of spiritual orientation.
Even with all the misconceptions, and inaccuracies created by various artists and media, music is the most emotionally charged media, regarding the birth of Christ. Aside from their beauty, music and words could never express how marvelous the Birth of Christ actually was:
He was born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem as was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament, and his existence is found in the writings of other prophets. The apostle John (John 1) writes that Jesus existed before the Creation of the world, part of the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Born in human form, the Son of God came as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all. God gave the gift of His Son freely, there are no strings attached. Nothing is required to receive this gift.
That is the difference between Christianity, and other world religions. That is why Christmas and its music is filled with expressions of love, peace, joy and goodwill. The gift of salvation is free; one does not have to do anything to receive it. Music is the essence of human experience. Music is a living, breathing organism that comes from the depths of our hearts to the listener. The music of Christ is art for all, as all art is a gift from God, and all gifts from God are free to all.
* Shepherds were not in the fields in December. The weather in Bethlehem (near Israel) is similar to that of the US, as both are on the Northern hemisphere.