Jeff Messer, Chaplain




Dreaming Of A New Year

The first public performance of Irving Berlin's song “White Christmas” was on Christmas Day of 1941, and was performed by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall. The song was then performed by Bing Crosby again for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. By Christmas of 1942 the song had become the biggest selling single in history. After 70 years it is still one of the most loved carols of all time. I know all of this not because I am the world’s biggest geek, although I probably am, but because I looked it up on the Internet, a skill I learned last week while keeping my grandson. 

Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was performed by many artists during the years of WWII and beyond. But it was the signature voice of Bing Crosby, and the song's stirring lyrics and melody, that boosted morale of our nation and the American troops who were a year into America's involvement with WWII. In 1942 we had just come through the Dust Bowl, the nation was still in a depression, and now a second world war. We needed something to hope for, and the song “White Christmas” was just the thing. Thinking about “tree tops that glisten” and “children that listen for sleigh bells in the snow” seemed to give our nation a new hope that the dust would settle, the economy would strengthen, and our young men and women would come home.

What kind of song would inspire us today? With “White Christmas” as a guide, I think it would need to be fairly simple. Not that we are a simple people, but our inspiration to greatness often times comes from the simplicity of life. It would need to inspire us to dream of things that might seem to be impossible. Glistening trees and listening for sleigh bells in the middle of Los Angeles, California was a stretch for Irving Berlin, but that is what dreams are made of.

It would also need to inspire us toward the future while remembering the past. “Just like the ones I use to know…” can be comforting but it should never make us comfortable. Fondly we remember yesterday’s snow, but “Frosty” is not here to stay. The dream is of a new snow that is fresh, clean and bright. It might be “like the ones I use to know…” but it won’t be the same nor should it be.

And what about a white Christmas anyway? A person in L.A. who is from New York might dream of a White Christmas, but what about someone in New York who is from L.A.? He might sing, “I’m dreaming of a sun shiny Christmas just like the ones I use to know, with the beaches a clutter, and highways a flutter with horns honking all the time.” I don’t know, but I do know that songs are about being inspired and boy do we need to be inspired today.

In Acts 2:17 Peter quotes the Prophet Joel by saying, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” 

As we enter into the New Year season, our prayer should be for God’s vision for His Kingdom’s work. We should be inspired not only by the beautiful memories of our past, but also by the determination to do Kingdom work each day that God gives us in the present. Our memories of yesterday are created by our actions of today!

As always, I am praying for you!