Insignificance

Christmas: A Time of Hope

Author: The Warrior's Journey, Team

Photo by Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Noel Regney was deeply discouraged. He had reason to be. His dreams of composing classical music had gone unfulfilled. And now, in his fifties, it looked like they never would be. Besides all this, his recurring nightmares, born out of the horrors he witnessed in World War II, became intensified by the subsequent wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the ever-present tension between America and the Soviet Union. 

Noel was born and raised in France. His sensitive heart loved and nurtured one thing – music. But his dreams of one day composing classical music were dashed to pieces when the Nazis conscripted him into their army. Horrified by the cruelty and atrocities of the German war machine, Noel deserted, fled back to France and became a fighter for the resistance. But Noel’s sensitive nature, unfit for the pain and heartbreak of war, suffered the deepest emotional scars from his experience. 

Then life seemed to lead Noel on a brighter path when he immigrated to the United States and married a beautiful and talented pianist/songwriter, Gloria Shayne. Gloria enjoyed a measure of success as a writer of Rock and Roll songs. But for Noel, there was neither success nor peace of mind. And now, in the 1960s – with Rock and Roll as the undisputed king and classical music a mere relic – all hope of success was fading. Far worse than the discord in his own heart, was the fading hope for world peace in the shadow of the Soviet and nuclear threats. 

In this time of despair, Noel’s mind went back to the Bible stories he had heard and read as a child. He recalled the story of a star that appeared in the East announcing of the birth of the long-awaited Prince of Peace and the Savior of the world – the holy child of Bethlehem. Noel realized that with the birth of every child comes a message from God that He is not yet finished with us. How much truer with the birth of Christ, our Redeemer! 

From his re-discovered faith Noel found inspiration to write the following words, that his wife Gloria put to music.  

“Said the night wind to the little lamb, 
do you see what I see 
Way up in the sky, little lamb, 
do you see what I see 
A star, a star, dancing in the night 
With a tail as big as a kite 
With a tail as big as a kite  

 Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, 
do you hear what I hear 
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, 
do you hear what I hear 
A song, a song, high above the trees 
With a voice as big as the sea 
With a voice as big as the sea  

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, 
do you know what I know 
In your palace warm, mighty king, 
do you know what I know 
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold 
Let us bring Him silver and gold 
Let us bring Him silver and gold  

Said the king to the people everywhere, 
listen to what I say 
Pray for peace, people everywhere! 
listen to what I say 
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night 
He will bring us goodness and light 
He will bring us goodness and light.”

Within a matter of days after the husband-wife collaboration that produced “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Noel and Gloria’s song was recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale and became a phenomenal success. Author Ace Collins explains, “The couple could not have dared imagine the effect (this song) would have on the nation. At the height of the Cold War, millions, like Noel, were yearning for peace and hope.  This Carol’s combination of words and music powerfully voiced those prayers. Newspaper stories of the time wrote of drivers hearing it for the first time on the radio and pulling their cars off the road to listen. … It was sung by church choirs, became an integral part of television specials, and inspired numerous magazine features and even sermons.” 

In our times of discouragement and profound fear, remember the message bound up in the babe of Bethlehem. God is not yet finished with us. He will bring us goodness and light.

Prayer

Dear Father in heaven, turn our hearts and minds to the Child of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, this holiday season. May his kingdom and peace fill the world and bring healing to the nations. Amen. 

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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