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Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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I pray everyone had a blessed Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year’s. To all the readers of the Black Voice News, thank you so much for blessing me with your love and care. You have been very loyal to the column and for that I’m grateful. God is so good it’s impossible to do anything without Him. This is what I want to share with you from my heart as I read this in one of my books. Let Me Be a Blessing, Lord, “Let me be a blessing, Lord, to all who pass my way; Walk with me and guide me in all I do and say. Lead me to the lonely ones that I might bring them cheer, to show I care and want to help and that You are always near. Let me share with others your covenant and creed; Help me fill their void and need. I strive to serve You faithfully, to channel hope in Your accord; Empower me, show me the way. Then let me be a blessing, Lord. Lord please hear my heart as I love and share with Your people from my heart that you have assigned to me.” Again Let us celebrate the holy birth of Jesus Christ.

“Where Dreams Soar”

Concluding “Where the Music Lived:” Next we will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ron traveled to Holy Trinity Church on Rittenhouse Square. He wanted to pay homage to Rev. Phillips Brooks, the rector who wrote the poem, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” after returning from the Holy Land in 1866. Brooks had traveled there following President Lincoln’s assassination and the deaths of so many of his parishioners in the Civil War. He was struck by how peaceful it was in Bethlehem. “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight,” went his lyric -- a message that he yearned for a similar peace in his homeland. Ron saved New York, New York for last and the first thing he did, hoofed it to the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 50th Street and inside what was then the Beverly and is now the Benjamin Hotel. Pianist Gloria Shayne was playing in the hotel’s dining room. Composer Noel Regney was instantly smitten. The two married 1962 together and wrote “Do You Hear What I Hear?” as a hymn to peace in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis and not originally a Christmas song, Ron’s final stop was 17 Beekman Place in Midtown East and for decades Irving Berlin’s home. The composer of the classics “God Bless America, Easter Parade and Puttin’ on the Ritz,” believed his best song was White Christmas.

Christmas was always a sad day for Berlin. He lost his son Christmas Day 1928, and over time grew increasingly reclusive. In 1983, when he was 95, carolers gathered outside his home and serenaded him with his wonderful songs. His maid invited them inside. Berlin greeted them and told them how touched he was by their gesture. Carolers continued to serenade through 1988, the last Christmas of his life. And still to this day gather and sing outside his home, the Luxembourg House, the country’s United Nations Consulate. The next day I was back home sweeping Renate into my arms. “Thank you,” I said. “This was the Christmas present of a lifetime.”

To sum up this story, can a man who’s been researching Christmas carols since 1989 pick just one to be his favorite? Of course not! That’s why Ron Clancy has two -- “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “O Holy Night.” “I love ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ for the lyrics. I connect to the imagery of that song. In the case of “O Holy Night,” it’s really the music. Did you know, O Holy Night was originally Cantique de Noel? A Frenchman wrote the lyrics in 1847. His friend a Jewish composer wrote the music. The song as we know it was translated into English by an American Minister, John Sullivan Dwight. On Christmas Eve 1906, “O Holy Night” became the first carol to ever be played on the radio. Ron may have gotten his start in the orphanage choir, but now he’s authored books and compiled box sets on the subject of Christmas carols. If you would like to learn more about Christmas carols, visit christmasclassics.com.

I hope you enjoyed these travels as much as I did. After all these years his dream came true. It shows that never give up on your dreams Let us start this year to show everyone that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and carry it throughout 2013 that “Love” is so important in our Christian walk, may you always walk in safety and may all your Christmas’ Be Bright.

Thank you HAPPY NEW YEAR. Be Blessed!

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