I'm sure many of you can relate to the extremeness of today's world. At times we lose sight of those things that should matter the most in our lives. But for whatever reason, they often elude our grasp for remembering. For me... it was finding Christmas.
When my mom was still with us I had wanted to do a Christmas album for her with a few selections of some of her favorites. But time catches up with all of us, and it wasn't meant that I set the stage to take on such an endeavor until after her passing. So, early in 2012 I began thinking about having a go at it again.
I wanted to deliver something with a sense of being reminded of what Christmas truly means. And I wanted it to have my stamp on it, not singing backup to canned, karaoke ... So, I took a leap of faith and decided take a stab at scoring out the music and orchestrating the entire project myself... from scratch. Talk about jumping into the deep end! I struggled immensely at first with what to do and how to do it, having not stretched those musical abilities since college days.
So, I dove into taking simple harmonic lines, a choral setting, or a piano or vocal arrangement, and with tools in hand I painstakingly orchestrated selections that have some deeper, personal meaning to me, along with several which my mom had the chance to hear me sing many years ago. Now, a couple of years later, after many long sessions planning, scoring, recording, editing, trashing, and starting all over from scratch... the results are, indeed, a labor of love.
I continue to work on this project with hopes that in a not-too-distant Christmas soon, I may share this with you. And when I do, may you find the true meaning of Christmas once again in your heart. I know that I did...
It’s Christmas Eve… You’re leaving the hustle and bustle behind you of the busy week at work. It’s cold outside, you’re tired and thinking of the gifts that needed to be bought but alas, you just couldn’t get around to everyone this year. And driving home you begin to ponder those Christmases long past. The moments that made your heart smile… the moments that put a twinkle in your eye… the moments that made you truly “believe”… You begin thinking of loved ones far and near. Yet there is a still, quiet emptiness inside. No matter how hard you try, you can’t quite seem to let it “totally in”… to get deep into the true meaning of Christmas and those Christmases shared so long ago. You watch that old, faded center line in the road drift far ahead of you… no end in sight.
Fast forward, it’s 11pm… the hour of Christmas. Christmas carols drift from a radio playing in the background, keeping you company. You get into your comfy clothes and you grab a favorite wine, coffee or eggnog. There's a fire to keep you company, perhaps you're by yourself, or with loved ones near at hand or afar but in heart, maybe a best friend, a furry companion. You turn off the radio and put on this CD that says on the inside jacket… ”Relax and let’s welcome the “true” meaning of this Christmas together.” And as you snuggle deep into a blanket, you drift away with the music like whirling snowflakes.
The journey sends you drifting away into a cold bitter night, across the forlorn plains of Bethlehem as "In The Bleak Midwinter" begins to play. Could a mother begin to comprehend the gift she bore? What she would bring into the world that night? Lullabies and songs sweep you back in time, to a story of your childhood... A story your mother and father, your grandmothers and grandfathers told you long, long ago… of a child… of shepherds… of angels singing. And it begins to wash over you once again, the wonder and awe of the Christ child… the perfect gift to mankind. “Fragile fingers sent to heal us, tender brow prepared for thorns… Tiny heart whose blood will save us, unto us is born…”
A quick glance at the clock reveals it is minutes before midnight as “Welcome Christmas” begins to play. Finally... we begin to feel it at last... what Christmas truly means. No… we’ve thought of something we hadn’t before. It didn’t come with boxes or tags or with bows from a store… “Perhaps Christmas this year will mean … much more.”
A Light, once again has come into the darkness. And as triumphant bells peel and break the night sky, and the chorus and orchestra swell to their height, a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night …
Copyright 2015 by Isaac Allen Sandy. All music licensed for distribution. All rights reserved. Used by permission.