Christmas Music: Songs from France and Italy

If this is the last week your children are in school — you have all of my sympathy, support, and a bag of cookies (very big bag of cookies!). I think this is the hardest week of the year, at least for me. I feel like we have to army crawl with one arm over the finish line on Friday.

This year, I started backwards clicking on my Family Search profile. To my surprise I found that we have several lines of French and Italian ancestors. One of these ancestors was Queen Beatrice of Provence — one of the four sister queens of Medieval Europe. I recommend reading the story of these four sisters, it’s very interesting. Europe as we know it today did not always exist. In the Middle Ages, country and regional boundaries were very different. The area of Southern France, known as modern day Provence was not part of France. France was the area around Paris. In Provence they spoke Occitan which is a romance language, that sounds sort of French, but not all the way. This area had more in common with Italy than Paris. We assign these carols to the French and Italians, but their origins are not necessarily the France and Italy that we know today. Still they are so beautiful and celebrate our Savior Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Christmas Music: The Cradle in Bethlehem

Luke 2: 7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” We know Christ was born into humble circumstances. There is some debate and scholarly study on what those circumstances actually were. Was the Savior’s birth in a barn? In a guest room? The family room? We won’t know that till He comes again and tells us.

I found this sweet story titled, Jesus is Born, in an old issue of the Liahona:

“Mary wrapped her baby in clean swaddling clothes and made a little bed for Him in the soft, clean hay of the manger. Joseph knew that this baby was the Son of Heavenly Father. He named the baby Jesus, just as an angel had told him earlier.

The angels of heaven rejoiced! The prophets’ promises were fulfilled. Jehovah, now called Jesus, had been born on earth. A new star shone in the heavens to announce the good news.

On a hillside an angel appeared to shepherds, and a bright light shone all around. The shepherds had never seen such a thing, and they were very afraid. Continue reading

Changes to Youth Advancement in the Church

If you get emails from the Church, you’ve probably seen this already. If not here is a link to the announcement for changes in how the Church will advance girls and boys throught the Young Women program and the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

Beginning in January 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and the Beehive class or deacons quorum as age-groups, not on their individual 12th birthdays as they have in the past.

In addition, young men will be eligible to be ordained to a priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16, and youth will be eligible to obtain a limited-use temple recommend beginning in January of the year they turn 12—based on their “individual worthiness, readiness, and personal circumstances.”

The announcement has a few more details. We encourage you to read through this announcement, and let us know what you think in the comments. It’s exciting times to be a member of the Lord’s church. My husband just remarked he wished Pres. Nelson would slow down just a smidge, not all of us are as fast and good at skiing as he is.

Christmas Music: Songs for Fun

As I’ve been writing about Christmas music the last couple of weeks, I have tried to focus on sacred music. After all it is Christmas .. you know Christ’s Mass. It’s a religious holiday. I’ve been scratching my head as I’ve read more than a few news stories about towns, schools, and shopping malls banning things like nativity displays, public readings of the Christmas story from the Bible, and even candy canes. The excuse usually has to do with something along the lines of, “We’re promoting inclusivity…” bla, bla, bla. Ok, but it’s a Christian religious holiday — it’s ok to include Christ and Christians in there somewhere. The Nativity story is part of the holiday, as is reading the Bible, singing the songs and so forth. The sad thing is these attempts to be “inclusive” end up being “exclusive” to the people whose holiday it is in the first place … Christians, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. You know Christ’s Mass…. anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now. I feel much better.

This all said, there are so many good songs both sacred and secular out there that help us celebrate the holiday season. So today, I’m going to share a few songs that are not religious, but still fun Christmas time and wintery songs. This I promise, My Favorite Things and Last Christmas are not on the list.

Silent Night-Sing Out The Glories of Christmas, by the Osmond Family. I’m a huge Osmond fan, mostly because I admire their musical talents. Being siblings they have very tight harmonies and are in tune all the time — these are the things that make listening to music a joy. This is a medley that was frequently sung in their many family Christmas specials. I think it was probably written by one of them, as I’ve never been able to find sheet music for this — but I would love to one day. Do you hear that Donny? Please? It’s a beautiful song. This version is from about 1978 or 79 — it’s fun to see all the brothers with their young families. A couple of years ago, I almost knocked over Alan Osmond in the Provo Temple (sorry Brother Osmond!!) I had to bite my tongue when I realized who it was so I didn’t have a fan girl moment, in the temple.

Continue reading

Globalism vs nationalism vs individualism

If you are anything like me you are constantly amazed at the some of the things written and said on the subject of globalism vs. nationalism. And then when you throw the subject of individualism into the mix, things are certain to get even worse. (To see an example of a wrong-headed approach to this issue, I give you this article).

The good news is people appear to be triggered by the words, but when you actually define the terms involved people of good will seem to agree more than you might think. So, in this post I would like to take a stab at attaching some definitions and moral judgments to the terms “globalism,” “nationalism” and “individualism.” I feel my Christianity supports me in my positions.

Globalism

“We are all God’s children, and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loves us all equally, regardless of where on the globe we are born.” Strongly agree.

“People should travel and experience other cultures.” Strongly agree

“Other cultures outside of the United States have good things to add to the United States.” Strongly agree.

“People should make voluntary trades with each other, and governments should promote free trading as much as is practical.” Strongly agree.
Continue reading