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Posted on Dec 26, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs, Humility, Values

Life Means So Much

Now that my series, 25 Days of Christmas Songs is over, I find myself still wanting to write about songs, but can’t really justify writing about Christmas songs anymore. Sure, I’m one that thinks Christmas isn’t over yet, at least not until New Years Day, but I probably shouldn’t write about more Christmas songs.

Instead, I wanted to just bring you the lyrics to one more song. It’s not a Christmas song, but a song with a theme that comes up in Christmas music.

We’ve heard the sayings, “can’t it be Christmas all year long”, “the spirit of Christmas lives all year” and “Oh that we could always see, such spirit through the year.”

We hear them and even repeat them, but how often do we actually try to live them?

So, what if this year, we tried? What if, instead of just taking down the decorations and storing the spirit of Christmas on a shelf until the next year, what if we lived Christmas all year long?

Can you imagine what our year would look like if we did? I know this spirit of selflessness and giving is one that I admire, but I often resort to motives of selfishness and pride. If I stop for a moment and think about all the possible ways I could live life in such a way, I can quickly see how great a difference I could make. Could you imagine what your life would be like if you gave more than you took this year? What if you lifted others up more than you sought out your own exaltation? What if you truly started putting others before you?

And that’s kind of the idea right, to take advantage of every opportunity, to seize the day and other pithy one-liners? I guess that’s why I like this song so much. Chris Rice does such an astounding job of illustrating what opportunity each day holds.

So, I leave you with the lyrics from one more song this Christmas season. Actually, one more song and a choice. Will you abandon the spirit of Christmas or will you try to fill your journal pages with selflessness and humility? We will not be perfect in our endeavor, but I believe if we try, we can make a wonderful impact on our world!

Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there’s plenty of room for writing in
All we do is believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessing
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketching

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody’s rich, nobody’s poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest, or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who’s under

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Has anybody ever lived who knew the value of a life
And don’t you think giving is all
What proves the worth of yours and mine

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

Every day is a gift you’ve been given
Make the most of the time every minute you’re living

Copyright 2000 Clumsy Fly Music (ASCAP)

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Posted on Dec 24, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 25

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 25

This is it! This is Christmas and the last day of the 25 Days of Christmas Songs!

Today I’m going to focus on a couple of songs that are about Christmas day as we know it. And before you get all judgement on me, make sure you read yesterday’s post. If that doesn’t suffice, let me know and I’m sure I can send you some sort of dissertation on the importance of keeping Christ in Christmas. ūüôā

We all love Christmas. Well, most of us anyway. I know there are a few out there who don’t, and some of them actually have good reasons. Others just do it for the attention. If you have a good reason, I’m sorry for whatever happened to make you feel this way. Maybe someday you’ll feel differently.

For kids, probably the best part about Christmas is opening gifts. I don’t know about your kids, but my kids have been talking about it for days, if not weeks. For parents, I think the part of the fun of Christmas is anticipation, and driving your kids nuts with all the waiting and teasing. For others, the best part is family, and others it’s the food. We all have our reasons, and that’s what this song is about!

Our very last song in this series, is one that has been a favorite of mine for many, many years. Both because of the song and because of the voice. If you don’t love Bing Crosby’s voice, you might want to check and make sure you’re really a human. Do you have a heartbeat? Do you sleep at night? If you answered no to either of those questions, we need to talk.

White Christmas is the most popular Christmas song of all time. In every way possible, it is the quintessential song we love to hear and sing at Christmas. There is a great movie that goes with the song, and the song talks about something most people would love – Snow on Christmas. Crosby’s single recording of this song is the best selling single of all time. The song first aired on Crosby’s radio show in 1941, in may of 1942 he recorded the single in a whopping 18 min. Eat that Justin Bieber! (There’s a ton of history to this song, you should take a minute and read some of it!)

The song is full of memories of Christmas that we all love. It’s not just about snow, it’s about all the things that make Christmas what it is for us. The song does what a good song does, it takes you out of your present reality and transports you to a different time and place where you live for a few minutes.

One of the reasons I chose this song for today is not just because I want a white Christmas (the chances aren’t very good where we live). It’s because Christmas in our modern age is about memories as much as it is about anything. And every year, including this one, we have the chance to make new, fun-filled memories. Christmas is a gift. It’s not just a gift of this one day, it’s a gift you can give for years to come. All you have to do is enjoy it.

So, today, don’t let the stress kill you. Don’t get all flustered about the kids having a bad attitude or dinner not turning out the perfect way. Don’t get in a rush to get to grandma’s house and tick off all the people on the freeway doing the same thing. Just relax and enjoy the day.

And let this day be the start of a new tradition, enjoying every day. (Come back tomorrow for that post!)

(If you’d like to read the other days,¬†you can do so by clicking here.¬†Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series,¬†you can subscribe to here.)

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Posted on Dec 24, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 24

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 24

In this next to last day in our series, I’m going to cover a couple of songs that fit really well with Christmas Eve – especially this night.

Of course, there are songs that talk about all that Santa has to do and what not, but those are not the ones I’m talking about.

The songs I would like to focus on are the songs that talk about just how holy this night is. Yes, I recognize that tomorrow is not the actual day that Jesus was born. While that may be true, it is the time we set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth. So tonight we also celebrate the events of the night that Christ was born.

Today’s songs are also two that are very sentimental and nostalgic for me. Let me tell you why.

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,¬†was one of the songs we sang in the IWU Chorale. It was one of the simplest of the songs we sang, yet it was so beautiful and dynamic. It was a joy to sing and listen to. Unfortunately, I can’t put our recording in this post as I don’t have permission to do so, however. If you listen to the Spotify playlist you will hear the same arrangement with a different musical interpretation. It’s not as good as ours was, but you’ll get the idea.

Another favorite of mine that we sang in chorale was Give Me Jesus.

The real gem for Christmas eve is¬†O Holy Night. It’s the song you expect to hear at any church’s Christmas eve service. The personal connection with this song and our family is that I made a promise to my wife that I would sing this song for her every year at Christmas. So far, I have been able to keep that promise. The way I’ll be keeping this promise this year is through you and all the people who have listened to and purchased my CD. As you listen, you are helping me keep my promise of singing this song for her every year. I may not have a job or a stage I can sing this from this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep my promise. We will also listen to this recording at some point during our evening tonight.

As we all listen to this and all these songs together, we can remember that we have been given a great gift – the greatest gift that has ever been given – the gift of Christmas. It’s a gift that can’t be compared to any other gift. Even if you saved every penny you ever made in your life, you could not purchase a gift that comes close in comparison. You will never deserve this gift, yet you can still have it. You will never earn this gift. There is nothing you will be able to do that will be equal to this gift.

That’s what makes this gift of Christmas so amazing. There is no reason we should get it, yet we all have access to it. So, this Christmas as you tear open the presents in the morning, and watch the joy in your children’s eyes, remember that Christmas is amazing because “God Himself became a man,” “He wrote Himself into the story and became it’s central character” so that we could have a savior who knows all that we go through. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, whether rich or poor, weak or strong, hopeful or broken, you have a savior who loved you enough to give his life for you.

Celebrate that!

And, for just a short time, I’m giving away one of the songs from my CD. And yes it is¬†O Holy Night! So, all you have to do is right-click on this link and save the mp3 on your computer somewhere you can find it! Thanks for helping me keep my promise!

(If you’d like to read the other days,¬†you can do so by clicking here.¬†Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series,¬†you can subscribe to here.)

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Posted on Dec 23, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs

25 Day of Christmas Songs – Day 23

25 Day of Christmas Songs – Day 23

So, as the big day draws closer, my time for writing posts has shrunk just a little bit. However, I still wanted to make sure I got today’s post up while it’s still today, and since I live on the west coast, I can get away with that.

Today’s song has been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid. That’s one reason it ranks so high on the list. And, you’re probably going to laugh when you realize why it’s a favorite of mine, but the reason is – the Muppets. Yup.

There was this record we had growing up, “A Christmas Together” by John Denver and The Muppets. It had some fun songs on there, and some great Christmas songs as well. Of course there were a couple of John Denver songs, but there was this version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” It was a duet between John and Ralph. And since I was a piano kid, I loved the song.

It was a family favorite too. My dad (A much better musician than I will ever be) transcribed the music for my brother, and he learned how to play it. My dad and my brother actually sang the duet as a part of one of our Christmas programs at our church.

This song is another song that was written during that warm year of 1944. I’m tellin’ ya, there was something magic about that year. There must have been some kind of explosion that got reindeer dust in up in the atmosphere. Once it was in the atmosphere is must have spread around the globe, getting everyone in the Christmas Spirit. Or it could just be that in the midst of such dark times as D-Day and other horrors of WWII, people needed to escape from reality and dream about Christmas.

So, as you begin the last couple days of this Christmas season, why don’t you take a listen to this fun version of this wonderful Christmas Song!

(If you’d like to read the other days,¬†you can do so by clicking here.¬†Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series,¬†you can subscribe to here.)

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Posted on Dec 22, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 22

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 22

Have you ever roasted Chestnuts on an open fire? Have you even had a chestnut? We tried to roast some one time, but it didn’t work out so well. Maybe next time.

This is one of the worst named Christmas songs ever, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a very popular, very loved Christmas song.

This song is another one that was written in that hot summer of 1944. There must have been something magic about that summer to bring about the writing of so many of our favorites…

Mel Torm√© wrote this song along with Bob Wells in the summer of 1944. It’s commonly referred to as “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “merry Christmas to you.” If you use the actual title of the song, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have to clarify with more of the lyrics.

Nat King Cole recorded the song four times. The first time wasn’t a huge success, but the second was after the addition of the strings to the arrangement. The next two just added to the songs popularity, and the song has become the most performed Christmas song according to BMI. Although, through this series, I’ve learned that there are a lot of different ways a song can be the most popular song. There have been at least 5 other most populars of one kind or another.

If you take a minute and listen to the song in Spotify, you’ll really enjoy the simplicity of the songs arrangement. You’ll certainly enjoy the flavor and character the string arrangement brings to the song. The string arranger did a great job of adding to the song, while still leaving room for the original flavor of the Trio to shine through.

¬†(If you’d like to read the other days,¬†you can do so by clicking here.¬†Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series,¬†you can subscribe to here.)

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Posted on Dec 21, 2012 in 25 Days of Christmas Songs

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 21

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 21

(If you’d like to read the other days,¬†you can do so by clicking here.¬†Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series,¬†you can subscribe to here.)

When I picked today’s songs, I thought I’d pick a couple that might depict the kind of night we’d all be having after everything shut down and the world collapsed as a result of today being 12-21-12.

Ok, not really, it just worked out that way.

If, however, you find yourself without power but you still have internet access, these might be the perfect, peaceful songs for you to enjoy this evening. Both of our carols for this day were written by pastors, another interesting coincidence.

Silent Night

The original lyrics for Stille Nacht were written by Father Joseph Mor and the music was composed a while later by Franz Xaver Gruber (No, not the guy from Die Hard). There are several stories about this song that seem to either be made up, or at least unverifiable. The first being that the organ was broken, so Fr. Mor had Gruber write music for the song so they could have music for their Christmas Eve service. Could be true, but no evidence. Another story says that the song was largely forgotten after its first use and wasn’t used again until the organ repairman found the music in 1825. However, Gruber published a version of the song in 1820, which would lend one to believe that’s not true either.

What is most likely is that Fr. Mor wanted a new carol for Christmas and asked Gruber to write some music. I guess it’s just such a great carol that people expect it to be magical in its creation. Some songs are just good.

Regardless of all that, it is one of our most beloved Christmas Carols. I hope you enjoy my arr. of it from my Christmas CD, “When The Snow Falls.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian church in Wyland,¬†Massachusetts, ¬†wrote a five stanza poem in 1849. The poem has been set to two tunes, the first and most popular being “carol” written by Richard Storrs Willis (who studied under Felix Mendelssohn) ¬†and “Noel” a traditional english melody. The version we sing is the one from “Carol.”

One of the reasons I love this song, is because of it’s message for those among us who are struggling. It’s easy to think everything is “merry and bright” at Christmastime. But, how many people do you know who are going through something difficult? I know we are. I know we have in the past. I also know many who are and who have struggled through the holiday season. So, as you enjoy this song, perhaps you could say a prayer for someone you know who could use a little help carrying life’s “crushing load” this Christmas.


It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er¬†all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.


‚ÄĒ¬†Original five-stanza hymn via wikipedia.¬†


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