Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Find a Room to Welcome Him

It’s a miracle! My fourteenth annual Christmas carol is finished, and it’s not even midnight yet. I started this little tradition back in 1998, when I was directing a children’s choir and read about the composer Alfred S. Burt, whose lovely "Star Carol" was one of his annual Christmas compositions (in lieu of a card). I thought, “I want to try that!” So I wrote a simple carol for my choir about a stable, a manger, a star in the sky. My own children still love the song and sing it to me.

This year, I had planned to use Christina Rossetti’s lovely Thread of Life as my text—something about those telling lines, “Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand Thou too aloof,” seemed to match the mood of this dark season, haunted as we all are by theodicy, the enduring problem of evil in the world.

But I was struggling. The creative process is so mysterious to me. Sometimes music just pops out of my brain like Athena bursting from the head of Zeus. And sometimes I have to fight for every note, for every chord resolution. None of the chords in my Rosetti piece were going where I wanted them to.

Then on Christmas Eve morning, a dear friend posted these delightful words from Robert Herrick:
See him come, and know him ours
Who with his sunshine and his showers
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The Darling of the World is come,
And fit it is, we find a room to welcome him.

And there it was. THERE was this year’s Christmas carol. December to May. Winter’s chilling morn to verdant corn field. Showers to flowers. No, of course life is not that easy (believe me, I know!). But at Christmas, we celebrate peace. A baby. Family. I don’t want to sing the problem of evil in the world today. I want to sing the Darling of the World and find a room to welcome him (The amazing John Rutter has also set this text to music, so I am now in good company).

Critics will want to attack the curious transition from A major to G major in measure 6. I will freely admit that I was under the influence of sugar when I wrote that.  To make matters worse, I then got stuck in the relative F-sharp minor and “resolved” it all by sharping the tonic (A) to A-sharp in the last measure, ending in F-sharp major! I know, right? Like I said, sugar will do strange things to you. Or egg nog (oh, bite my tongue! Bite my tongue!).

A final note just in case someone happens to be actually reading this (apparently, my blog is not anonymous!). My ex is a good guy. He really loves his kids. So do I. It’s easy (and sometimes even a little bit fun) to judge people. But God or whatever mystery you sense in awe and apprehend wants us to love people instead. Try giving a little love this year, even to the people you don’t agree with.

Merry Christmas! 


Annette said...

Amen sister. People will say what they will. Personally, I thought you were very courageous to share your story. Thank you and bless you and yours.

Samara Oz said...

Robert Herrick for Christmas. Perfection.

Unknown said...

PLEASE READ THIS!! Liza. I didn't celebrate with my family, but I spent all day writing my first blog post in response to your article, Thinking the Unthinkable. The last thing he needs is meds or jail. Last resorts. There are better options available. Sometimes you have to look outside the healthcare and psychiatric system. Just read my blog please. If will answer your questions. http://onlyifyoulistenautismspeaks.blogspot.com/

Ray Colon said...

The only thing that I know about music is if it sound good to me. I'll leave the technical aspects to those who know better. I enjoyed the video.

I don't know what it feels like to have a post go viral, as yours did, but I suspect that one is never prepared for it. I found your post to be heartfelt, so I printed it and read it to my family. We all felt your pain. So much of what is posted to the Internet is drivel, so it surprised me that your piece about real life told in a real way received so much negative criticism. I, for one, thank you for writing it.

Unknown said...

Can you send me your email address? I would like to correct your misconceptions about the help that your son would receive if he was arrested. I do not want any desperate mom to think that reporting their child to the police will help the situation.

Anonymous said...

LIsa I am a lifelong composer. Played piano since 4. Knew as a Kid "I was put on earth to do music and it is holy. See my articles and free books at my website 1prophetspeaks.com same articles at my blog 1
which has my book in 2 parts:
WHAT KIND OF MUSICIAN ARE YOU GOING TO BE? GOD's CALL TO MUSICIANS. Musicians are called to be prophets intercessors & healers. on lyrics, drugs, mental illness & worship.

Get your son out of the psych hospital. That is the last place he needs to be. the drugs cause mental illness and are deadly by design. The Nazis killed psych patients with psych drugs in the t4 euthanasia program and this genocide has continued worldwide since using mental health as a cover.
Do NOT even touch the criminal justice system. It will ruin his life. The records bring curses on people, as does your writing about him and using his NAME. what we write invokes things, not only describes. see articles:
The Mental health system is a front for Nazi genocide

THe Power of Words revised

Anonymous said...

God told me that all musicians are called to serve Him. IN the old testament, musicians were prophets. I think autistic kids are prophets in training. see my article
Message to Families of Mental Patients.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...


can help with your son's situation. Deals with a major source of autism and mental health issues, which is mold toxicity.

Blessings, Joe

Adem Döğer said...

Try giving a little love this year, even to the people you don't agree with. ı love this blog

ahsenet.com is the a litte love site for me..

ADD Gourmand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ADD Gourmand said...

Look into neurofeedback. It was recently ranked as having the highest level of research to support its efficacy, as judged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Join the Yahoo biofeedback forum and ask questions; the forum is filled with brilliant people who have years of experience and have seen cases exactly like your son. I am an occupational therapist who has seen miracles come from the use of this technology, yet no one knows it exists.

I hope you and your son have a wonderful new start :)

Unknown said...

Great post Izrada sajtova

Anonymous said...

love your blog!!

bubblegum casting