I know that Nat King Cole had a great and storied singing career, but the moment I hear his voce, I hear Christmas. I’m not the only one who thinks he has one of the classic Christmas voices of all time. I have been hard-wired that way since I was a boy, listening to our family’s Firestone and Goodyear Christmas record collections.
Nat is not the only voice I immediately associate with Christmas: Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Jose Feliciano, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and even Elvis Presley all trigger an immediate Christmas response in me, and I’m sure they always will. It is impossible for me to think of Burl Ives in any other form than Sam the Snowman, singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”
None of them are singers that I would normally listen to, but for a month out of the year, they become the soundtrack to my life. Toss in an occasional “newer” song from Amy Grant and avoid Paul McCartney like the plague, and I have a Christmas playlist that has been running though my December brain most of my life.
That is no small accomplishment, to have your voice associated with Christmas across generations. (Hate on Mariah Carey all you want, but what she has done is remarkable.)
As I was thinking about how hearing specific things can cause me to instantly think of Christmas, I began to wonder what things I hear that instantly turn my thoughts to Christ, when the Christmas music is put away.
There are a few obvious ones: The prophets of the Old Testament and Handel’s testimony of the Savior in “Messiah,” (Which was written for Easter) turn my thoughts to Christ in a powerful way.
The hymns we sing before partaking of the sacrament are powerful voices testifying of Christ. So do the sacrament prayers.
The are many voices that testify of Christ that are not sung. One of the earliest that impacted me was the froggy voice of President Kimball. His voice helped me to Christ. Since then, countless brethren and leaders voices have taught me more about the Savior; The calm reassurance of Richard G. Scott; The power and certainty of Dallin Oaks; The gentle nature of President Nelson.
The timid testimony of a departing missionary testifies of Christ, as does the powerful witness of that same missionary, on return.
We hear the sounds of Christ when we participate in the ordinances of the Gospel. When we sing the hymns, when add our testimonies to those of our fellow members.
We hear the voice of Christ through the Scriptures – particularly the Book of Mormon. Next year we will have the opportunity to dig deeper in that sacred tome to hear the Lord’s voice.
And, most importantly, we hear the voice of the Savior through the whisperings of the Spirit. The gentle teachings of the Holy Ghost testify of Him.
It is easy to think of Christmas in December when it is constantly swirling around us in December. It is no impressive feat to increase our focus on the Savior during this season because impossible not to.
But what about January? Do we listen for the voices that testify of Christ in March, or July? Do we walk around with songs and thoughts in our head that focus our attention to the Savior in the heat of the summer?
The voices of Christmas are wonderful and make this season special.
Listening for the voices that point us towards Christ is an “always” thing – as in “Always remember Him.”
I am grateful for those voices that turn my heart to Christmas. I am even more grateful for the voices that point me towards Christ.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas. May that spirit burn brightly this holiday season, as well as burn brightly in or hearts all the other months of the year, when it is not as easy.