Wonderful

I’ve always loved Christmas songs.  Who hasn’t?  They are iconic references and symbols of one of, for most of us, one of the real highlights of childhood – and then we get to repeat it all in a slightly different fashion as parents years later.  These songs take us through these enchanting times and play in the background like a movie score.

Previous to this month I had only ever written one Christmas song – a song recorded by the Jenny Burton Experience called Christmas In My SoulThey say, in the music business, that the month of June is the month to write and begin one’s Christmas album, the preparation of such to be around 5-6 months.  Who can write Christmas songs in June?  What a silly notion.

This year the Missus has come up short in her search for the perfect Christmas song for her Christmas Day performance in church.  She had decided to employ a terrific Boston harpist and together with her organist, Bryan Ashley, keep it small and delicate in accordance with the spiritual implications of the morning.  Last year she used a brass quintet plus the church four manual pipe organ and blew the roof off, so this year she wanted to do something completely different.

But no song came to mind to fit the criteria.

While watching her go through her turmoil, I happened to mention one day several weeks ago that perhaps I could write one for her.  This was said in a fit of compassion for her plight while I was in the middle of the mad dash of the final throes of my own CD, Goin’ Home.

Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, she grabbed at the offer and signed me up.  At first I thought, “Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?”  Where would I ever find the time to do this?

Then she came up with the notion that not only should I write it and arrange it for harp and keyboard, but that we should also record it and sell it for Christmas.  Then she came up with the idea that we should also do the sheet music for it and sell that too and let others use it in their churches for their Christmas services as well.  Then she came up with the idea that as long as we were going to do all that, she may as well use the song for her musical Christmas Presence lecture that she does around the country with lecturer, Chet Manchester.  This only moved the deadline for all this up by about 2 ½ weeks!  “Egads,” thought I.  “What have I done?”

So I did it.  In the next 3 days Julia will record the lead vocal to the orchestrated track, Craig Wagner, the designer, will design all the packaging, I’ll mix the song, the WFM staff will manufacture about a hundred singles to start with and by Thursday we’ll be selling this song that will receive it’s first performance in St. Louis on this coming Sunday.  Whew!

Will we make it?  With God’s help, we shall.

It’s a new world.  Things like this can be accomplished in a matter of weeks, a matter of days now.  The power of computers – the power of Mind.

The writing was fun and accomplished in a matter of 48 hours.  Once that was done, I knew we’d be OK.  The rest was just a matter of getting’ it done.

Julia directed me to the Bible for my text and chose the tried and true – think Handel.

And his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor,
The Mighty God,

The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace
Yes
his name shall be called Wonderful”

But I also wanted to shed some new light on the subject – not just rehash George Fredric.  Julia suggested that I combine the Bible text with some of the text of Mary Baker Eddy and her thoughts on the life of Jesus.  Julia and her big ideas!  Using text (non-lyrics) always makes good songwriting very difficult in that text is not metered and has a way of not particularly sounding very musical much less poetic.  On top of that the text of Mary Baker Eddy cannot be changed by even the alteration of a comma.

However the text she gave me was poetic to a certain extent so I thought I’d give it a go.  I had a great deal more content than I needed to begin with.  Julia can have her long-winded moments, so I had to do some clever editing.  Always easier to cut than to add.  While fooling around with several lyrical directions the line struck me like a lightening bolt — “And his name shall be called Wonderful,”

“What a great idea,” thought I.  Call the song Wonderful!

And so I did.

I was on my way…

Here is the finished lyric.  In another magical musical week you’ll be able to hear, sing, play, perform, buy and listen to the whole thing through the wonderful world of MIDI, LOGIC, the INTERNET and God’s gift of inspiration.

Hot off the presses!

Wonderful

Text by Mary Baker Eddy
Lyrics adapted from the Book of John
Music by Peter Link

The wakeful shepherd beholds
The first faint morning beams,
Ere cometh the full radiance
Of a risen day.

So shone the pale star
To the prophet-shepherds;
Yet it traversed the night, and came
Where, in cradled obscurity, lay
The Bethlehem babe,
And his name shall be called Wonderful,
Wonderful

The people that walked in darkness
Have seen a very great light:

For unto us a child is born,
And a son is given:
And the government shall be upon his shoulder:

And his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor,
The Mighty God,

The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace
Yes
his name shall be called Wonderful

Now the Son of man is glorified,
Yes and God is glorified in him.

Verily, he says unto you,
“He that believeth on me,
The works that I do shall he do also;
And greater works than these shall he do;

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father,
And he shall give you another Comforter”

The prophet of today
Beholds in the mental horizon
The signs of these times,
The reappearance of the Christianity
Which heals the sick
And destroys error,
And no other sign shall be given.

When a new spiritual idea is borne to earth,
The prophetic Scripture of Isaiah is renewedly fulfilled:
Saying “Unto us a child is born, . . .”
“Unto us a child is born, . . .”

And his name shall be called Wonderful.”
Counsellor,
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace
Yes
his name shall be called Wonderful
Wonderful
Yes he is wonderful
Wonderful!

 

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