Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sometimes breathing messes things up

I want to preface this post by saying I highly recommend breathing, whenever necessary.

There are times when breathing is better than at other times, though. For instance, breathing while also drinking never is a good idea, while breathing between drinks is just fine. Breathing while surrounded by noxious fumes is probably not good either. You get the idea. One instance when breathing can mess things up is during songs, particularly at moments where there is not a designated breath mark or break in the music. I noticed this last week as we sang "Silent Night" during Sacrament meeting at church. The first verse is as follows:

1. Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.

If you look closely you'll see that there is not a comma or any other punctuation indicating a break after the line "all is bright." While our congregation was singing, there was a definite pause there so people could breathe. This really isn't a big deal, and doesn't personally make much difference to me, but it can change the meaning of the phrase. It makes it sound like all is calm and bright on that silent night. And that wasn't the case.

For example, one of the reasons that Jesus was born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth is because Joseph had to go and pay taxes by decree of Caesar Augustus, emperor of Rome (Luke 2). Did the Jews think all was calm and bright, being ruled over by a foreign power? Probably not. And I imagine there was suffering and unrest of all kinds and magnitude all over the world, as there is now.

The absence of a break after bright is significant to me because the phrase says "All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and Child." Around Jesus Christ all was calm, all was bright. And in a world as filled with turmoil as ever, we still find that all is calm and bright around Jesus Christ. When I draw near him, my world is calm and bright. Jesus proclaimed that He is the light of the world (John 8:12; 3 Nephi 9:18) and provider of peace (John 14:27; Mosiah 5:18).

"All is calm, all is bright round yon virgin mother and Child."

A choir that knows when to breathe.
--Who is excited Christmas is only one week away!

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