Music and the Spoken Word

Gifts of Christmas - Sunday, December 4, 2016

There’s something undeniably special about Christmastime. It’s a season of beloved songs and stories, of treasured memories and traditions. People of all faiths and cultures can sense that something changes for the better at this time of year. In the most personal and intimate ways, Christmas brings people together.

And yet, for this very reason, Christmas can also be a time of profound loneliness for some. What brings joy and cheer to some families reminds others of what they lack. So many are in need, so many could use some cheer, so many wait for a visit, an invitation, a phone call—especially during this season. After all, noticing the needs of others and reaching out to them in love is really what makes Christmas so special.

A mother and father learned this truth as they raised their family. Their four children, like all children, always looked forward to opening Christmas presents. But their parents noticed that they were even more excited, more deeply joyful, when their widowed grandmother joined them on Christmas Eve. It has become a tradition now going on 25 years—Grandma joins them for a special evening meal, and they laugh as they remember Christmases past. Then the family reads about the birth of Jesus in a lowly manger and the angels who invited humble shepherds to come see Him. They talk and think about how His birth changed the world and what that means to them today. Almost every year, Grandma says, “I don’t need any gifts for Christmas; I just want to be with you.” Being together is what makes Christmas Christmas. Even though some of the children have now grown and moved away, across the miles they are still together, and Grandma is still with them, every Christmas.

No matter our circumstances, we can reach out in love to others—especially those who may be forgotten or lonely. Buying a present for someone is easy. But being present for someone is almost always more meaningful. More than a gift or a card, they need you—your loving concern, your kindhearted inclusion, your time. These are the greatest, most meaningful gifts of Christmas.

-Lloyd D. Newell

December 4, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,551

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Felix Mendelssohn; arr. Mack Wilberg

Angels’ Carol
John Rutter

Fanfare and Toccata on “Joy to the World”
Dennis Janzer

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Gloria Shayne Baker and Noel Regney; arr. Arthur Harris

Away in a Manger
William J. Kirkpatrick; arr. Mack Wilberg

Farandole, from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
Georges Bizet