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Posted December 18, 2007

My Christmas and New Year’s Wish for You

Gene Hemrick

In Italian we have the saying, “Canta che ti passa”: when you sing everything passes — song overcomes! It is my Christmas and New Year’s wish that beautiful music envelop you with a joy that conquers all.

In our seminary days, Sunday High Masses were filled with awesome music. The purity of Gregorian chant was ever so soothing, and glorious polyphony accompanied by a magnificent pipe organ was seventh heaven.

May your Christmas and new year be filled with music’s power to calm and intoxicate you with heavenly bliss.

In our home we had a piano, violins and an Italian mother who would rise early in the morning and wake us [whether we liked it or not] with her singing in the kitchen. It was mom’s way of teaching us to begin the day with a song in our heart — to be grateful for being alive and blessed.

May your Christmas and 2008 be filled with endless mornings that begin with a song in your heart. May you rise to zest filled melodies that awaken your sense of gratefulness and enthusiasm for meeting a new day.

During my life I have experienced some of the most inspiring music ever created, but none ever matched the heartfelt music I heard in Guatemala. Mayan Indian catechists would come down from the mountains to the village of Huehuetanango for catechetical days. This often included mass accompanied by their singing. Their songs didn’t have the purity of Gregorian chant, nor did they ring with the triumphal sounds of polyphony, rather they exuded purity of heart. Those simple, uncomplicated Indians sang from the inner voice of their souls.

May the music you make exude from your inner most being, lifting your heart and the hearts of those around you.

Life is never more beautiful than when it is harmonious. St. Paul says that God endowed us with a beautiful harmony when we were created. To respond to this is to achieve wholesome excellence. When we make music, we enter the world of harmony, and once in it, music has an awesome way of solidifying our spirits — of feeling the excellence of life. May this season be a time in which the ordering spirit of music inspires an invigorating excellence never experienced before.

Music comes in many forms. As children, we sat around a kitchen table that rang with the music of happy parents and relatives who laughed at themselves, the events of the day and life in general. Their carefree spirit was music to our ears. May this season be filled with the music of carefree laughter that enables your spirits to rise above the anxieties and tribulations of life.

In the psalms we read, “Praise the Lord with the lyre, make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song.” May Christmas and 2008 be filled with new songs to God that bring you ever closer to him.