Christmas Memory: “To Hear the Angels Sing”
Contributed By Sister Maria Lúcia Estaca Martins Silva of the Young Women general board
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
Good music has always been a part of our family’s everyday life, and Church hymns are heard and sung often, not only on Sundays and at family home evenings. It is not uncommon to hear our grandchildren singing songs learned in Primary, and their voices lead us to praise the Lord. However, at Christmas season, that music is even more present. The lights decorate the Christmas tree, turning on and off to the rhythm of those songs that we have heard since our childhood and that fill our soul with joy, peace, and happiness. Figurines of Santa, all in different sizes, shapes, and colors, also invite us through their music to reflect upon this holiday season and, more important, to have gratitude for the baby Jesus.
In fact, Christmas is not celebrated in only one day, but on many days during this month of December. It is when our children and grandchildren gather around the piano to sing hymns and carols on Sunday afternoons. We start flipping through the hymnbook, singing one hymn after another, meeting the preferences of each person. For a moment we are sent back to that night of light when we sing: “Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head; The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay, The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay” (“Away in a Manger, Hymns, no. 206).
Then our thoughts turn to Bethlehem and we can almost see the scene when Joseph and Mary placed the baby Jesus in the manger. Then someone starts singing: “It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth To touch their harps of gold: ‘Peace on the earth, good will to men From heav’n’s all-gracious King.’ The world in solemn stillness lay To hear the angels sing” (“It Came upon the Midnight Clear,” Hymns, no. 207). “Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and Child. Holy Infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace; Sleep in heavenly peace” (“Silent Night,” Hymns, no. 204).
Then, reverently, we begin to play with the voices familiar to us, trying to impersonate famous classical singers, scratching: “Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains, And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains. Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria in excelsis Deo. Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria in excelsis Deo” ("Angels We Have Heard on High,“ Hymns, no. 203). And we go on until early evening, united as a family, praising Him who is the center of our lives: “Oh, come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant! Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, Born the King of angels; Oh, come, let us adore him; Oh, come, let us adore him; Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord” (“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” Hymns, no. 202).
Even though the children eagerly await the long-expected gifts, everyone knows that the greatest gift of all was offered by Heavenly Father when He sent His Beloved Son, yes, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we love, revere, and worship through song and devotion to His gospel. We are happy to know His Church and to be able to cherish this joy. We are happy to know our Savior and to know that through His life we make our lives worthwhile.