Three hours later, "On a Sacred Still and Silent Night" was finished -- complete and beautifully poignant. Three days later it was sung by our college kids just home for the Christmas break.
The experience of writing this song is one I will treasure forever. It was a surely a Gift of Song directly from Heaven.
Writing sacred music, particularly Christmas music, has been a wonderful opportunity for me throughout my life. Sometimes I set out deliberately to write a sacred choral piece, but more often, as in the story above, the music came almost as if by accident. But I know that inspiration comes to those who seek it and are ready to listen. Many times, I have had deadlines to write something, and had desperately prayed for inspiration to get what I needed to do done. Other times, I was just willing to allow inspiration to come and then made time to work with it.
As a composer, you've got to be ready to jump when the inspiration comes. It doesn't always come at convenient moments. Once, I was up in through the night caring for the sick members of my family. I had moved them all into the family room so that I could pass the bucket and clean up the messes easier. I remember looking out the patio doors onto the sparkling snow and the brilliant night sky full of stars. What a poetic, beautiful sight and in such contrast to the awful reality I was going through. But it made me think of the new star that shone on the first Christmas night. I actually found comfort and peace in serving my family as I contemplated the Savior of the world who was born into mortality to serve all of mankind.
And then came the music -- with the words. I practiced and practiced in my mind what I was hearing so that when I could get a chance in the morning, I could write it all down.
Those are experiences never to be forgotten! I am so happy to be able to share my testimony of the Savior, and his life and mission, though sacred Christmas Music.