Christmas Cheer 32

A French annunciation and nativity scene

  For this final installment of "Christmas Cheer" for 2014, I've chosen a very short video of a very small act: We're all capable of doing little things like this.   … [Read more...]

Music of Christmas 29

Mary with her child, a still from the LDS movie

  For my final installment of "Music of Christmas" for 2014, I offer two pieces. I've always loved Miklos Rozsa's score for the movie Ben Hur.  And his "Star of Bethlehem" is, in my opinion, one of its two highlights: I heard a wonderful arrangement of it yesterday, performed by Jenny Oaks Baker.  But I can't find a version of that that I can use online. And J. S. Bach's O J … [Read more...]

“The Savior can change dark to light”

A Da Vinci portrait of Jesus

  This was my Deseret News Christmas column for 2012: My 2014 Christmas column was actually published this morning.   … [Read more...]

Airline passenger thrown off plane after angry reaction to “Merry Christmas”

AA jetliner image from Wikimedia Commons

  I wouldn't be surprised if there's a law suit brewing over this, but I would have joined in the applause, too:   … [Read more...]

“There is hope in every dawning”

An image -- trust me! -- from Wikimedia Commons

  Christina Lyon Maughan, who has herself had a rough year and a rough Christmas season, brought the lyrics of this song by Sally Deford to my attention.  (I haven't located a recording of it yet that I can use here.) I share them here for all those -- myself among them -- who, amid the fun and the spectacle and the music and the gifts and the family celebrations of Christmas, still acutely feel the absence of departed loved ones. This is what r … [Read more...]

The Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem

Nativity image from Wikimedia Commons

   The first Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem was begun by St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, in AD 333 as part of an overall building program launched in the aftermath of the great Nicene Council -- a program of construction that also included Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Built above the complex of caves in which Jesus is traditionally believed to have been born, the Basilica was completed in AD 337. Unfortunately, t … [Read more...]

A “Music of Christmas” Supercollection

Winter in Zion

  My gifted friend Will Schryver has assembled a collection of some of his favorite Christmas music.  You can access it here: You need to actually download the collection in order to listen to the music. Two of the thirty-three pieces -- Jesus, Once of Humble Birth and the Greensleeves Medley -- are his own arrangements.   … [Read more...]

“One of us”

Three Sharecroppers, by Walker Evans

  Responding to my Deseret News column of this morning, Ray Agostini reminds me of a 1995 hit song by Joan Osborne.  Don't worry; the voice that begins the clip isn't the voice in which she sings the rest of the song:  If God had a name what would it be? And would you call it to His face? If you were faced with Him in all His glory What would you ask if you had just one question? And yeah, yeah God is … [Read more...]