Christmas Music: “And On the Morrow Come I Into the World”

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Millennial Star. We all wanted to thank you for reading and commenting on our posts all year — we hope you continue to come back.

It’s been so personally enriching to write about music this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I loved it so much, I’m going to continue to write about music, literature and other nice things in 2019 — because let’s face it, the news is depressing.

As I was thinking of what I wanted to write about in this last music post, my thoughts were directed to the words of Samuel the Lamanite in the Book of Mormon and his prophesy of the birth of Christ. Helaman 14: 1-8,

1 And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.

2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. Continue reading

Christmas Music: Angel Songs and Coming to Christ

I decided last Sunday I better get with it and finish up reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Nothing like a project to keep you on your toes during the holidays, when all your toes have been bitten off by Christmas mice. As I’ve been reading in Alma I have been impressed deeply by many things. First, I love Alma this time through more than I have ever in the past. His words are filling me, answering my questions, giving me peace. The constant invitation to come to the Savior is there reminding me that I need to do better at that.

Alma the Younger was a wild child — he says so himself in Alma 38: 7, “But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth.” Most of us are probably not going to have an angel visit us and call us to repentance (I think I’ll say “thankfully” right here). We have that invitation in the scriptures and thru the words of the prophets. The Savior always has the invitation extended to “Come Unto Him”. We just have to decide to take that invitation and He will be there to help us. Continue reading

Christmas Music: Shepherds on the Hills and the Animals in the Stable

A few years ago, I set out to start a tradition of reading Christmas themed books in the month of December as a family. I wanted to wrap each book up and then have the kids pick a book and we’d read whatever book was under the wrapping paper. As it stands I had only enough juice in me to wrap all of those books once. (Because each kid had to have a book to open each night or there would be no peace on earth or goodwill toward men in our house. 24 books x 3 kids = 72 books YIKES!). So all of our Christmas story books just live, unwrapped in a Rubbermaid bin which gets toted out and set near the Christmas tree in December. The kids can pick and choose books as they want. Mama is much happier that way. This tradition has helped our family discover some very fun and tender Christmas books. One of our favorites is The Animals’ Christmas Eve. This book talks about the animals that were in the stable and witnessed the birth of the Savior. It’s one of my favorite books to read to my kids.

When I think of animals I’m very thankful that we have them. They enrich our lives as pets, they help us work and eat (as in they are beasts of burden on farms, and also raised as food).

It was prophesied by Zechariah in the Old Testament that Christ would come, riding a donkey, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (see Zechariah 9:9).

That prophesy was fulfilled in Mark 7: 1-3, “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.” Why a donkey though? Christ was the Prince of Peace, the donkey symbolized peace in ancient times, whereas a horse was an animal used in war. It’s very fitting that Mary probably rode a donkey to Bethlehem, and Christ also rode a donkey from Bethlehem into Jerusalem. Continue reading

Christmas Music: Songs from Germany and Austria

Many of the Christmas traditions we enjoy in America come from Germany. This is partly due to the fact the Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria was German, and he brought with him his traditions. Albert and Victoria were trend setters. The German influence is also from the large numbers of German immigrants to the United States in the mid to late 1800s. My brother served his mission in Wisconsin, and said that you were as likely to hear German spoken as you were to hear English in some areas he was in. We grew up with German traditions in our home as our cute little (4 feet 9 inches) Grandma Gold was from Thuringa — the most German part of Germany. Dad also served his mission in Germany and loved to share fun traditions with us. We had a big red advent caledar on the wall with little charms to pin on a felt Christmas tree, yes we had the little chocolate door Advent calendars too (yum!). On December 5th we’d leave one shoe out for Sankt Nikolas to come and treat us, or leave a lump of coal the next day on Sankt Nikolas Tag. There was also fun treats like stollen and Lebkucken to eat. The greatest of German contributions to Christmas is the tradition of the Christmas tree. Dad used to tell us how when he was on his mission the Germans still were using real candles on their trees and how they’d only light the candles on Christmas Eve, so as not to burn the house down. I love German Christmas! Continue reading

Christmas Music: The Wise Guys and Giving Your Heart

Matthew 2: 1-12 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. …and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Growing up we spent Christmas Eve at our Great-Grandparents Randall’s house. There were many, many people there to eat tamales that Grandma and her daughters (my Grandmother and her sisters) spend days making. We’d have our dinner, and then Grandma Pearl would shuffle all of the little kids — the second cousins — into the back bedroom and dress us for the annual presentation of the nativity. The angels were dressed in white garbage bags with sliver tinsel around our waists and bobby-pinned on our heads. Mary and Joseph were usually my sister and our cousin Keith. If there happened to be a newish baby that year, he or she would be Baby Jesus. If not there was the dolly we called “Kay” in the toy box that was a fabulous stand in. The oldest teenagers were the narrators and song leaders. And usually the rowdy boys were the “Wise Guys” (thank you Uncle Richard for that — it stuck!). The prized part was not Mary or Joseph, but those Wise Guys. Why? Because they got to wear paper Burger King crowns, and bath towels pinned over their shoulders. But from these many years of Christmas pageants, I came to love those Wise Men, they always had the fun part of the program — and those paper crowns! Continue reading