Tonight we had our New Beginnings program for Young Women's. It was such a sweet thing to be with the girls in our ward, and to see them step up and do things that might not be completely comfortable for them, but which are nonetheless good for them. I adore all our girls, and am especially moved by our beautiful Laurels, the 16-18 year olds in our church. I love working with them. I have to admit I am a bit exhausted (is it possible to be a bit exhausted?) right now though. I don't know why I feel so much more of the weight of responsibility as president, than I did as an advisor all those years, especially when I know how everything we do is a team effort. I love my calling, mostly because I love the girls and the other leaders with whom I serve, but it does make me tired.
Our church has a lay ministry. We all take turns doing our part, under the Lord's guidance. I've had some really great church callings. Some pretty unusual ones, too. I served for a few years as Relief Society President in the Davis County Jail. That was great. I'll write about that when we get to songs on Pontiac Rocket. I served for three years as Historian of the Bountiful temple. My job was to keep a record of some of the sweet things that happened there. That, by the way, is a sealed journal that is kept in the temple. One of my all time favorite callings was as Primary Chorister. My sister Libby has that job now. We sit in Sacrament Meeting and little kids come up to us, walk right past me, and climb into her lap. They love her. Probably because they know she loves them.
Many years ago, when our kids were little, when I was serving as Jr Primary Chorister, we decided to create a neighborhood Nativity. We wrote a simple script, based of course, on the scriptural account of Jesus' birth. Mostly we dressed the kids up in warm Nativity-like clothes and let them act out the story in the back yard of one of our neighbors. Mostly they told the story through songs. Childrens songs, with a few traditional Carols. We needed a couple songs for a couple places in the story, so Dave Thomas wrote the Inn Keepers song, and I wrote Heavenly Choirs, for the angel choir to sing at the very end.
Every December we rehearsed with the kids in Primary on Sunday mornings. Then on an evening close to Christmas we huddled together as neighbors and grandparents and friends, watching through teary eyes our little ones walking across the snow, pretending it was the desert. We did it in our back yard at the old house for a few years. We did it in the front yard of the current house, too. And in other neighbors' yards. It is a sweet neighborhood tradition, crossing invisible religious lines, and I cherish it.
Each December, when I go in to teach the kids Heavenly Choirs, I get choked up listening to their angelic voices as they pour their hearts into the song. It's a simple tune, and a simple lyric, and they seem to understand it.
Every year my friend Ruth Gatrell encourages me to enter songs in the Utah Composer Guild Contest. Every year I tell her I don’t think so this year. Then every year I give in. I've won the contest a number of times in varying categories, and a few years ago Saints on the Seas won the Grand Prize. One year I entered Heavenly Choirs in the Children's Song category. The judge that year gave this critique:
"What is your scriptural basis for this song? Nowhere in scripture does it say there were children in any angelic choirs."
It didn't win.
O-kay. I didn't mean to falsify anything, or write new scripture, or claim to have any divine inspiration. All I said was that Jesus loves children (I'm pretty sure about this) and that if He got to pick who might sing in His choir He would likely have wanted at least a few little ones. Besides, I made sure to have the caveat..."so I imagine".
This song was on the very first album I ever made. Merlyn and I travelled to Logan and recorded in John Carter's basement a little cassette called Is It Snowing Tonight. The kids who sang on that recording included seven-year-old John Connors, five-year-old Sarah Connors and three year old Kate Connors. Annie was too little. I haven't listened to that recording for years. But I do remember being able to recognize my children's voices when I heard it, and it warms my heart.
We recorded it again for the CD Sleepy Little Town. Annie sang on that one. So did some of the girls who sat, years later, in my class in Young Women’s. They might have grown up. Their voices might have deepened. But they are still, to me, little angels with tinssel halo's standing in the snow , singing this song with all their hearts.
G Bm C G
Heavenly choirs must have had children
C G Am D
Singing along when they came to the earth
G Bm C G
Jesus, I know, loves little children
C G D D7 G
So I imagine they sang at his birth
C D G
Em Bm C Dsus D
Had I been there, I would have sung
C D Em
C G D7 G G7
Praise to the Lord, praise to his Son
C G D D7 G
Praise to the Lord, praise to his Son.
Guitar tag: G Bm C G C G Am D G
There you go, even bonus guitar chords. They are placed just perfectly over the lyric where the chord should change, I swear, but when I publish the blog post they get scrunched together. Use your intelligence or instinct to see where the chords change if you want to play this on guitar or piano or, say...banjo. Capo up to a comfortable key.You can hear the song in the green music box below.