My fondest Christmas memory was gathering around the piano while my brother played Christmas carols. Often my parents would wander in and join my brother and me for an impromptu family moment of ‘sing a longs’. This memory, etched in my heart, was what I initially thought Christmas meant. One of my favorites was “Do You Hear What I Hear”. My dad had a great crooner voice and hearing him sing warmed my heart and brought me great comfort.
As I grew spiritually and explored deeper meanings of Christmas I began to experience this song differently, with a focus on the intent to pray for peace everywhere. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" was written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The pair, married at the time, wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though we live in much different times now we continue to experience periods of conflict and crisis in the world. This is, in part, the very nature of change and transformation. Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us that peace is every step. And yet, sometimes it can be so difficult to navigate how and where we will step. Charles Fillmore drew many of his ideals of peace from the bible and his dedication to the teachings of Jesus. Fillmore believed that as we align ourselves with God’s presence and discipline ourselves to spiritual practice we would experience perfect peace. I wonder what Fillmore would do if an Angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him he was about to experience a miracle, the virgin birth of the King of Peace.