Points to Ponder: Over the rainbow: A merry little Christmas
Points to Ponder
Over the rainbow: A merry little Christmas
We enter another Christmas season during a time of war. Will it ever end? Our troops abroad and their families at home surely wonder when we can all be together again at home. The power of evil is relentless. The vigilance that this fight requires is wearying. Fear, depression, hopelessness are weighing upon the hearts of many.
During World War II, the Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland entertained the troops. Most of them were her age and so she could empathize with the fears and the struggles they shared in their letters to her.
While filming Meet Me in St. Louis, a new song was written for her to sing during a Christmas-time scene. In the scene, she and her character's little sister share their fears about moving away from what they knew to a new life in St. Louis. Garland's character was to sing, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It had been written for the touching and tragic moment being portrayed in the story. The song began:
"Have yourself a merry little Christmas;
It maybe your last;
Next year we will be living in the past."
The writers, Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, felt that it was perfect for the sad moment in the lives of the movie's characters. But Judy Garland refused to sing it. Never mind that it was right for a movie; it was wrong for the country. After three years of entertaining and connecting with war-weary troops, they needed hope. They were already immersed in sadness and pain, fear and fatigue. Garland felt that the song should not dwell on the darkness of the present moment. It needed to convey a message that there are brighter days ahead. These young soldiers and their worried families at home, had to be encouraged to believe that there was a lot of life yet to be lived.
So the writing team went back to work. Had they not rewritten that song; and had not Judy Garland stood her ground until they did, we might never had heard of this now popular Christmas hit. The words and the tune have reached into the hearts of many for the past sixty years, with a timeless message of hope.
"Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, let your heart be light,
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, make the Yuletide gay,
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more.
Through the years we are will be together, if the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now."
One of the great joys of the Christmas season is the music. Music is a powerful means by which God can touch a heart, give comfort to a soul, and bring us into an attitude of praise toward Him.
When King David, the man after God's own heart, brought the ark of God to Jerusalem he appointed some of the Levites "to minister..., to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God." (I Chronicles 16:4) Before he died, he appointed the praise band and singers (so to speak); "...four thousand praised the Lord with musical instruments which I made, said David, for giving praise." (23:5)
May the music of this season help you to minister, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise - and to give Hope.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.