My Grandaughter loves the musical, The Sound of Music, written by Rogers and Hammerstein. So do people in the Aged Care Facility where I work as a Chaplain.
It has been 50 years this year since the Sound of Music Movie was made. Hard to believe.
There’s a part of the movie where Maria teaches the Von Trapp children to sing, “Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun.” DO, RE MI FA SOL LA TE DO, which I understand are the notes CDEFGABC on the piano.
So I have improvised a Christmas Story this year, based on the notes of that scale.
CHRISTMAS AND THE EIGHT NOTES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
© Ross Cochrane
DOE, A DEER, A FEMALE DEER.
Our story begins with God who had created all of heaven and earth in six days. While He was resting on the seventh day, He decided to write a symphony for the world.
Music hadn’t been invented yet, so He looked around the Garden of Eden to find something which would inspire Him to create the musical notes which would allow Adam and Eve to express their deepest worship, as well as inspire them to reach their highest potential.
In a clearing in the garden, He came across a lovely doe, drinking from a stream.
He decided to choose a note that could be used in His Symphony of Love to the world, a note that would be one of the central notes of all music down through the ages.
He called it the Note of the Doe because it reminded Him of the sounds of the gentle stream over the pebbles and the quiet nature of this beautiful female deer whose thirst was quenched by the water.
He said, “As the deer thirsts for the water, so the souls of men and women will long for Me” and for the first time a crystal clear note was heard in the heavens and resounded throughout all the earth.
Since the dawn of history, every time a person responds to God’s purposes that note is heard in heaven as part of God’s Symphony of Love.
Nine months before the first Christmas day a young woman responded to the purposes of God in her life. When an angel appeared to Mary and told her she would bear a child, she heard the distinct sound of that note; the Note of the Doe. She had a thirst for the things of God and she responded to His words. She said, “May everything you have said about me come true.”
RE, A DROP OF GOLDEN SUN
Just then a glorious drop of golden sunlight coursed it way through the trees, resting on the doe and dancing on the water, harmonising the colours of the clearing in a magnificent array of light. In that moment another note sounded in the earth and echoed throughout eternity. God said, “This note will remind men and women that I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.” This note was created to usher in the Light of the World.
Years later, on the first Christmas night, some Shepherds heard it too. As it filled their hearts with its sound, the fields were flooded with light. They had heard that angelic note that somehow touched the earth like Spring sunlight on the meadow. The radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. Angels reassured them and told them of the Saviour, born in Bethlehem, the Light of the World.
ME, A NAME I CALL MYSELF
One day, the first man and woman decided that they wanted to be like God and write their own symphony of notes which they called the Symphony of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but only one note was heard throughout the garden; the note of ME. It was repeated over and over again; ME, ME, ME, in a regular rhythmic beat.
God heard the note in the Garden because it was so discordant with the melody of the music which He had been creating. He found them hiding in the garden and asked them, “What have you done?” but they only said, “It wasn’t ME!” and refused to take responsibility for the note of disobedience and sin which they had created.
But years later, a strange thing happened on that first Christmas when Mary gave birth to Jesus. The sound of ME was somehow changed, and the curse that had come with the note of ME, ME, ME which rang throughout the earth was changed by the simple sound of a baby in a manger.
Jesus later changed the name of the Note to Follow ME. He said “This note shall remind men and women that they are sinners in need of a Saviour. It will be a note to remind them of ME, to seek ME, believe in ME and follow ME.”
Through the centuries that followed few heard the sound of the note calling them to repent of their sins and to follow, but on that first Christmas, Joseph recalled that he had heard it in a dream. An angel sang the note when he said, “Mary will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
FA, A LONG, LONG WAY TO RUN
As God played the beautiful notes that would one day be used in His symphony, He realised that the hearts of men and women had moved so far away that they could no longer hear the notes He had created for His Symphony of Love.
He longed to awaken the music within them and bring them close again, to bridge the gap, to call men and women back to Himself. And it occurred to Him that He needed to create a note as crisp and clear as a bell, which would call men from afar.
As He travelled throughout the universe pondering what note to use, He passed by a distant star. The star was so overjoyed by His presence that it began to emit a pure and beautiful sound from deep within its core. The closer God came to the star, the brighter it got and the praise of the star rose louder and clearer than all other sounds.
God looked down on the earth to see if anyone could hear the beauty of the sound of this star’s worship and saw that some wise men had noticed. The note and brightness of the King Star, heard and seen from afar, was used by God to guide them to Bethlehem on that first Christmas and became a note in God’s Symphony of Love.
King Herod heard the music of the King Star also coming from the vicinity of Bethlehem and tried to deaden the sound with the crescendo of his anger, but he could do nothing. The Wise Men still sought Jesus and presented Him with gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
SEW, A NEEDLE PULLING THREAD
Every stringed instrument is played on strings that are threaded through the tuning pins and stretched out along the sound board.
As God looked down on the earth that first Christmas, He saw something most remarkable. It was a scarlet string that had threaded its way through history from the Garden of Eden all the way to Bethlehem. Few people could see it, but it was there.
It was the Scarlet String of God’s Grace. The Prophets had spoken about it. It was the grace of God that sent Jesus, the Messiah, to be born in Bethlehem. Totally undeserved.
God reached down that first Christmas and took the end of that Scarlet String of Grace where it rested at the door of a stable in Bethlehem.
As the master musician came into our lives, He wiped off the dust of the years of disuse, and skilfully added the Scarlet String of His Grace, threading it through the tuning pins, as He tightened and tuned His instrument.
And on that string, another note would be added to God’s Symphony of Love, A Grace Note, which introduced the Key Note of the Symphony.
It was given voice for the first time as God picked up the bow and He led His angelic orchestra by playing the most magnificent of melodies. A melody so pure and sweet that the Shepherds and Wise Men, Mary and Joseph and we too, were drawn into His presence.
You see, the String of Grace was threaded through the tuning pin and stretched across the Soundboard of Salvation so that God’s Symphony of Love could be shared with the World.
We had been “out of tune” and none of the chords sounded like they were meant to be played, but because of the birth of Christ we finally had something to measure each note. He is the key to us getting in tune with God. He takes away the old strings and threads the new strings through our human spirit and orchestrates in us a Rhapsody of Love that lasts for eternity.
It was that needle pulling the Thread of Grace that gave us the Voice of Faith as God played His Overture.
The Symphony of Love was the most beautiful of symphonies ever heard in all the world, … but there was still something missing.
LA, A NOTE TO FOLLOW SO
As God looked at His Son and began to play so beautifully that first Christmas, He realised that two notes were still missing from His symphony. One of them He knew would be the most difficult notes He would ever compose.
He realised that Jesus Himself was the most Noteworthy part of Christmas. The sound of His voice would echo down through the centuries so pure and lovely that it would transpose the music of people’s lives into the Key of Heaven.
So after creating His Grace Note, He created the Note of LA to represent Jesus Himself, the first and the Last, the overture that ushered in the Symphony of Love and the finale of Creation, for He is so noteworthy that it is the message of His voice that follows on from everything else that has played out in our lives so far.
TE, A MEAL WITH WINE AND BREAD.
I know, we sing it as Tea, a drink with jam and bread, but it wasn’t always that way. This note is the finale of God’s Symphony of Love.
You see, God, with a trembling voice, brought the last note into being, once and for all. There were tears in His eyes as He created the note of TE.
This note was first played at a meal with wine and bread, called The Last Supper.
God called the note “t” because it would always be associated with the shape of the Cross. The Symphony of Love that began at the Manger was a prelude to the Cross.
God knew from the very beginning that before Jesus could die for our sins, He had to be born into the world as a perfect human being. It was on this note that the Symphony of Love reached its crescendo, the crescendo of history, as Jesus died for our sin, and darkness descended on the earth. The voice of God was heard through the thunder of the cymbals as the Finale was played and He cried out, “It is finished”.
When the Apostle Paul heard the note, he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT), “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
The key to Christmas is the birth of Jesus. Galatians 4:4 (NASB) says “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman.” Right on cue, Jesus came and He is instrumental in the arrangement God had created for the world. Jesus would bridge the gap between God and Man.
This was God’s orchestration. God’s magnificent Sonata. His creative arrangement. His Serenade of Grace. He was the composer of this beautiful Rhapsody of Love, this Overture to the World.
That will lead us back to doe; back to the person who is responsive to God and open to His purposes. Back to a ray of golden sun that led wise men to the Light of the World. Back to reflecting that life is not all about ME and that Jesus came to save ME from my sin. It seems that Jesus had the only Me without sin. He said “Come to Me, believe in Me, follow Me”. And so Wise Men came from a far, far away place, following His star to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah King.
God threaded the String of Grace and composed a Symphony of Love and played it at Jesus birth and at His death, so those who believe in Him could be his Instruments of Love and live as God intended.
Jesus is the Overture and the Finale. His birth was a Prelude to our salvation. His death was instrumental in bringing forgiveness to the world.
When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything. Nothing is impossible with God. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The key to Christmas is Jesus. He gets us working in harmony with Him and others. He gives us a new melody of worship and gives us our own unique voice; He keeps us in time with the rhythm of life; the different tempos, different tones, and different timbres. He whispers into our lives with the soft notes and builds us up in the crescendos of life. He’s there at the beginning and there at the finale. The Maestro at work, playing His Symphony of Love at Christmas, a prompt to you and me to trust in Christ and find harmony with God.
And if this story has made sense to you, then would you repeat this prayer with me? It’s a prayer to receive Christ as your personal Saviour this Christmas.
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to save me. I admit that I have been out of tune with You and out of sync. I believe that You died for my sins and I want my life to more than just about me. I hear the sound of God’s symphony of love and I accept You as my personal Lord and Saviour. Make my life Your instrument. Make me the person You designed me to be; to live my life in Harmony with You. Thankyou for saving me.