Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bucket list report: October 2011


Dress as the Phantom of the Opera and play the organ/piano part with an orchestra.


(Special thanks to my brother for shooting the video.  The cutoffs at the beginning and end weren't his fault, though; my camera went on the fritz in the moments leading to its battery's death.  To make it up to you, here's my favorite song about unfortunate situations in photography.) 


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Christmas Spirit

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.  --D&C 25:12

Halloween is still a week away, but I'm feeling the Christmas Spirit right now.  

A common complaint I have heard in previous years is that someone hears Christmas music on the radio when the Christmas Season hasn't even arrived yet.  Heck, even in seminary back in the day, there were protests at the very suggestion of cracking open Hymns 201-215 before Thanksgiving.  

Today I ask, "Why?"

I can understand the argument that playing Christmas music year-round might somehow make it less "special" when December finally comes along.  It's a Christmas thing--I get that.  Fireworks are for the Fourth of July, hearts are for Valentine's Day.  But let's look at it this way: do we only think about the Savior at Christmas or Easter?  Does the Atonement become "less special" if we only apply it when taking the sacrament on Sunday?  

Of course, any of us could answer that; as followers of Christ, we praise and celebrate Him always.  We have covenanted to "always remember Him" (Moroni 4:3).  "Always" means all the time.

And when we get right down to it, the Spirit of Christmas is, indeed, the Spirit of Christ.  

I have to give credit to those people I know who do listen to Christmas music year-round, for whatever reason (for the longest time, I thought that was weird, but I turned out being wrong.  Way to be!).  Likewise, I also have to point out that it's okay if we're not singing Christmas hymns in church every Sunday (please, no).  I'm just expressing a thought I didn't really have until this weekend.  Up till now, I was always one who stubbornly locked away the carols on December 26th, and didn't let them out again until the day after Thanksgiving.  But I'm realizing now that maybe it's not such a terrible offense to go caroling when everyone else is Trick-or-Treating.

My stake had its first choir rehearsal last night for our Christmas program in December.  It was a beautiful evening, filled with uplifting music about the Savior.  And I finally understood then what a great idea it was to pull this choir together even before Halloween; by inviting the Spirit of Christmas into our hearts, what we were really doing was inviting the Spirit of Christ.  And that's something we need all year.

I like to sing hymns while I work.  It doesn't make the boxes I have to lift any lighter, or fewer in number, but I feel a difference in my own capacity because the hymns invite the Spirit and strengthen me, reminding me of the things that bring me the most joy.  Today I sang Christmas carols during my shift, and they had the same effect.  The song of my heart was a prayer unto God, and I received the blessing even as I labored.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Sacrifice

It's not my habit to regurgitate piano videos the same way I re-post pictures, but I've been digging up a bunch of old stuff recently and remembered how much I liked this video from clear back in high school.  I feel somewhat nostalgic with the turning of the seasons, and this song is one of those that perhaps best illustrates the feeling.  It's fall now, and there's a lot I like about this season.  Maybe I'll explore that theme sometime on the blog, but for now I'll let the music speak for me.

The Sacrifice
Michael Nyman

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