I heard angels singing last weekend. I have not “been to the other side” but I experienced a bit of heaven on earth last Sunday. Twice.

The Many Moods of Christmas under the leadership of Scott H. Atchison is one of the reasons why USA Today named Peachtree Road United Methodist as one of the Ten Best Places to Hear Christmas Music. The Chancel Choir along with the Georgia Boy Choir accompanied by a 35 piece orchestra offers an unsurpassed musical and spiritual experience each December. It has become one of the highlights of the Advent/Christmas season for me.

As the sound of Serenity (Magnum Mysterium) filled the room, I was transported from my seat in the sanctuary into a heavenly realm. This was just one selection of the evening that lifted my spirit and inspired my soul.

I enjoy many of the sights and sounds of the season but Brenda Lee’s Rocking Around the Christmas Tree just does not have the same effect as the Zachary Brown and the choir singing The Vision Isaiah Saw. Although I love to hear Bing Crosby’s rendition of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, it pales in comparison to Amy Little’s version of Silent Night.

I have been reminded many times already this December that this is “the best time of the year” but Burl Ives’ Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas, does not compare with Will Green singing O Come, O Come, Immanuel or the Chamber Singers Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is Born).

In addition to the program last Sunday evening I had another wonderfully uplifting experience earlier in the day. I attended worship service at the Sugarloaf United Methodist Church that morning and my spirit was buoyed by the excellent music of the Praise Team led by Harrison Hinson

The  music at Sugarloaf UMC was a distinctly different style from the event later that day at Peachtree Road UMC but it was excellent. The very gifted musicians and singers offered their talents to lead the congregation. It was a very meaningful time of worship as we sang together, O Little Town of Bethlehem. The voices and the instruments combined to offer high praise to God as we sang Joy to the World and other music that told the story of the Gift of the Christ Child.

I am grateful for all the music of the season. Frosty the Snowman is a song I enjoy singing and Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer is very much a part of the holiday repertoire. I tap my feet and lift my voice along with others as we sing Here Comes Santa Claus and Jolly Old St. Nicholas but they don’t tell the real story of Christmas.

I am grateful for the music and the musicians that help me remember the Reason for the Season. It does not matter if it is violins and harp or drums and guitars. Harrison on the piano at Sugarloaf or Nicole at the great pipe organ of Peachtree Road. Thank God for great Christmas music that tells the Story and feeds the soul.

Jamie Jenkins

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