Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Joy to the World

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By W.H. WATERS

Oh, what a glorious time of year this season is. Especially is this true if you grew up in a loving home and in your late teens war interrupted your youth and sent you far across the world. It does not dull the beauty of the season but stamps in your memory the greatness of home and church.

A while ago, I turned my radio to a station I seldom listen to. Out of the air the great baritone voice of Bing Crosby came. Bing died many years ago, but no one will ever measure up to the joy and tears he brought me in my years in the Pacific.

The first song I heard was a happy lilting song with the Andrews Sisters. It was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and they surely lifted my spirits.

Then came “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with an arrangement that only Bing would make.

Then he shifted to the Christmas Story. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” he sang, “Do You See What I See? A star, a star dancing in the night with a tail as long as a knife. Do you hear what I hear? I know a baby is born and He will bring us goodness and light.”

Then came “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.” An angel came to the shepherds and gave them “Tidings of Great Joy.” It was about the birth of our Savior.

That great baritone voice then called out “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.” He simply called us to call out “Glory to God in the highest.” Yes, he sang the Christmas message of Jesus and this is truly what the season is about.

The song “White Christmas” was relatively new during World War II. My mother wrote to me of the beauty of the song. She spoke of Bing Crosby. The song of course speaks of the things children hear when white Christmases come.

The song also speaks for people who are older like I am. You dream of yesterday, and with every card you write you put feeling in it that says this is a beautiful and loving season and because in days of yore someone loved me. People who write great songs have great hearts for they have to understand what reaches mankind.

As a Christmas singer, “Der Bingle” stands at the top, and I believe it’s not only but his faith that put the power in the renditions.

Bing did not sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” today. It is a song that simply brings tears to my eyes. If you have ever been in the middle of the Pacific Ocean one Christmas Eve and it is steaming hot and you don’t know whether going home is your future, this song has such great meaning.

Yes, I went home for Christmas in my dreams. I put my head on my pillow in my bunk and thought of home. Mother, Father, Brother, Sisters and everything that was transpiring. Being there in spirit gave me relief along with my tears.

I am sure that I was a topic of conversation in the family. Thinking of that eased my pain. I was 21 years old at that time (much younger than 21 today).

The greatest word, properly understood, is love. God loved us and sent Jesus to save our souls. He wants us to love Him and Jesus and each other and yes, mankind. It is so easy to love family. Church is an institution of generally like-minded people. They are easier to than the broad spectrum of mankind. Even so, God made us all, and He loves the whole of mankind. As His representatives, we are to reach to those about us and strive to show the beauty of His way.

May the season bring you joy and may you feel God’s presence. If the Baby Jesus had not been sent, our plight would be sad. With His coming we, too, can sing as Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters did, “Joy to the World.”

Merry Christmas.

Editor’s Note: Mr. W.H. Waters is a resident of Lebanon and a contributor to The Wilson Post’s Opinions page.

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