There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28
In the 80’s and early 90’s I sang in a musical group called “The Master’s Voice.” We started out as an acapella double quartet that eventually was pared down to a quintet by time and location.
We sang all kinds of songs – from barbershop to hymns to carols at Christmas time.
One of our favorite Christmas songs was The Christmas Song.
Yes, it is a “secular” song, but it is also a door-opener into the more sacred songs of the season as well as helping us tell the Christmas story to our audiences.
The song itself was written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. They didn’t set out to write a Christmas song. Torme stopped by to visit his friend Wells on a very hot July 1946 morning. Already in the 90’s Mel found Wells sitting in his living room fanning himself and trying to think “cool thoughts.”
Mel spied a note pad with lines of “cool thoughts” that Wells had written.
“Chestnuts roasting … jack frost nipping … Yuletide carols … folks dressed up like eskimos.”
Torme saw the beginnings of a song and soon they had penned A Christmas Song.
They saw something special in the song they had written to ostensibly beat the heat that sweltering July. Mel drove over to his friend Nat King Cole’s house to show him the song. Cole immediately asked to record the song and by October of that year it was the number one song in the country. Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song would chart again four more times.
The song would go on to be recorded by other artists, including my group, The Master’s Voice, but no one can hold a candle to Nat King Cole’s version.
This song written to beat the heat of a sweltering July 1946 would open the door to many African Americans to record many Christmas songs and basically break down the racial barriers of America in the first half of the 20th Century, especially when it came to Christmas.
Which is exactly what God intended when He sent Jesus to be born of Mary in Bethlehem so many centuries ago. Jesus was not just Savior to the Jews or to “white people” but to ALL the people of the world.
Christmas is not an ethnic holiday. It is a universal celebration and commemoration of the salvation of mankind. When Jesus was born, the end-game of the Plan of Salvation that God set in motion in the Garden of Eden all the way at the beginning of time was begun.
Jesus would be born for all people. Christmas is for all people.
And thanks to Mel Torme, Robert Wells, and Nat King Cole, the Christmas message is told and celebrated by more people than ever before.
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