Click above to listen to the original piano-flugel horn-vocals trio Shepherds and Stars as you read. This track is from 2009 Best Holiday Album December Peace (ZMR Awards, winning over Enya and Yo-Yo Ma). If you enjoy, please consider sampling and ordering the CD, MP3 Album or sheet music. You can also listen and download on iTunes and all other digital outlets.
Where could you use some “December Peace” today?
Wide Awake in December ~ by Paxson Jeancake, www.paxsonandallison.com (Copyright 2012, Paxson Jeancake, not to be re-published without permission)
“The glory of God is man fully alive.”
This quote from Irenaeus captures how December Peace speaks to me as a believer and as an artist. As a worship leader at a large church in northern California, the Christmas season is gloriously hectic! It is a frantic season filled with rehearsals, transcriptions, planning, scheduling, music, drama, video, gifts, services, services, services! Too many services! In the midst of this frenetic pace, December Peace helps me to slow down so that I can be fully alive – more fully engaged, spiritually and artistically, during this demanding time of year.
Our church had the privilege of inviting Stanton to perform some of the songs from December Peace during the 2009 Christmas season. I still have a vivid memory of listening to Shepherds and Stars while be captivated visually by the beautiful video graphic. It remains one of my most special Christmas memories, musically and visually.
Growing up as a young boy in South Carolina, I remember listening to Christmas albums every year as we hung the tree, put out decorations, and enjoyed the sweet taste of eggnog. Little Drummer Boy was always a favorite of mine. I would perk up when that song began to play on the turntable.
As a musician I love singing the lyrics in my mind to this classic song while the melody of Stanton’s arrangement resonates in my home or car. It creates a space for me to worship our wildly creative God who put the potential in the world for melody, the vibration of strings, the resonance of vocal cords, and the pulse of rhythms in 4/4 time. It all echoes the words of the psalmist as he declares: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).
With all of these thoughts and recollections it seems most fitting to describe December Peace as a summons; a gift that meets the deepest longing of our heart which is to be wide awake to God. In and around the frantic pace and the barrage of activity, December Peace slows us down and extends stillness and reflection.
It is an invitation to art and to worship.