Christmas musical reflects on past, present and future

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Music and the sounds of Christmas will echo through the sanctuary of Chocowinity United Methodist Church this weekend, as the church hosts its annual Christmas musical performance, a tradition which dates back to the early 1980s.

Directed by Chocowinity UMC Minister of Music June Arnold, this year’s performance is entitled “God’s Story — Ancient to Future.” Looking at themes from the beginning of creation to the present day and beyond, this musical odyssey will consist of songs composed from 1734 through 2017, exploring traditional favorites and contemporary interpretations.

“Since God cannot be limited in any kind of way, I thought it would be a good reminder for all of us to look at the continuity of the story of God, as revealed on Earth,” Arnold said. “Hence, looking at Christmas carols in other centuries, and then using some very contemporary thoughts that match in today’s sound.”

With more than 300 years of music to cover, the sounds and instruments may have indeed changed over the years, but at heart, Arnold says these songs are all telling the same story.

“Among some ministers of music, there is great interest and concern about preserving the Christian message in Christmas carols,” she wrote in a press release. “These older songs are no longer embedded in the memory banks of many people. We are not referring to instruments, rhythms and tempo, rather to lyrics, the culture at the time of the birth of Christ and the unique vocabulary of the Christian community.”

Arnold says the early life experiences of memorizing Christmas classics such as “Silent Night,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” help form the foundations of many a child’s Christian faith. In cases where possible, the country of origin and date of composition will be included for each song.

Among the favorites being performed in the weekend musical are “A Celtic Silent Night,” “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” “Wise Men Still Seek Him,” “Angel Band” and an Old Testament concept expressed in ”He Started the Whole World Singing.”

The musical service will be held twice this weekend, at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.