Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: In the Dark Streets Shineth

In the Dark Street Shineth, David McCullough, Shadow Mountain Press, Salt Lake City, UT, 2010,
This book is taken from the narration David McCullough provided for the Mormon tabernacle Choir at the Christmas Concert 2010.  He tells the stories of two American Christmas songs, the first being "O Little town of Bethlehem" and the second "I'll be Home for Christmas."  Phillips Brooks wrote "O Little town of Bethlehem" in 1865 after he visited the Holy Land and Bethlehem.  He wrote it as a way to remind himself of his trip.  A few years later he asked Lewis Redner to put the poem to music.  Redner felt like a failure, until Christmas Eve, and the melody came to his mind like a revelation, waking him from his sleep.
In 1841 Winston Churchill crossed the Atlantic to met with President Roosevelt at Christmastime.  This was shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Churchill had made the comment at a Christmas Eve presentation that each home should be a brightly lighted island of happiness and peace.  Then in singing this song a couple days later at church, he likely was touched by the line, "Yet in they dark streets shineth the everlasting light."
The second song was specifically written for WWII but two song writers Kim Gannon (lyricist) and Walter Kent.  Recorded by Bing Crosby, the song was the most popular of the time, and expressed the sentiments of many during the war.  "I'll be home...if only in my dreams.
During this Christmas may we remember the sacrifices of other who have paved a way for us.

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