Read the Story and Listen to Daniel Carter's Christmas Song,"Our Nativity"

How the Song Came to Be

In December 2012 my friend and neighbor, Larry H. Lee handed me a piece of paper. I looked at the words:

"Looking back at sights of holiday joy
The lasting memory I see
Is a scene of a stable in Bethlehem
Placed under our Christmas tree."

"I got to thinking," Larry said to me, "that there are all kinds of people who celebrate Christmas because it's such a wonderful holiday, and many of them are not even believers. But I wanted to remind everyone that we are glad they celebrate with us, but this little nativity under the tree is the real reason we celebrate it. It used to be that the nativity was common everywhere, but in these changing times, we aren't even allowed to put up a nativity scene in most public places."

I loved the idea and his wonderful choice of words, and I was anxious to set his lyric to music. But life happens, and there are interruptions. 2013 wasn't an easy year for either of us. Larry is 87, thoughtful and an award winning poet and lyricist. His wife, Marjorie, is a spry, witty, pleasant 93. But as Marjorie and I have both said, "I have all the parts, I just don't know when they're going to work!"

Our Nativity, the Music Video

Sheet music available in choral, vocal solo and vocal duet versions at HolySheetMusic.com.

Western Airlines Baggage Handler to CEO

Robert E. Dallos, of the Los Angeles Times wrote May 10, 1985:

"Lawrence H. Lee, the soft-spoken chairman who is credited with helping turn Western Airlines around amid the turbulence of deregulation…began his 42-year career with Los Angeles-based Western as a baggage handler. The 58-year-old Lee was named president and chief executive of Western in April, 1983, at a time of sliding morale and declining earnings; the airline was just reporting a $50-million quarterly loss."

Additionally, the Times article goes on to quote Gerald Grinstein, Larry's successor:

"Larry Lee and the turnaround he designed for Western will become a model for American industry."

Soon after, Western Airlines was bought out by Delta Airlines, and Delta retired Western's name as part of its subsidiaries.

I got to know Larry and Marjorie Lee as neighbors in the same building. We shared several mutual friends together, and so our friendship continued to grow and sweeten. Every time we saw each other there was a clever witty quip from Marjorie, and a quick catch up, and a probable get together soon. I feel fortunate to hear the wonderful stories of their lives.

"I robbed the cradle, you know," Marjorie twinkles with an impish smile. Larry grins with pride. "I had no idea that I was marrying a minor, let alone someone who wasn't even legal!" she chortles. "But in those days, 'legal' meant something else entirely."

Time to Compose the Music

Larry and I agreed to get together to work on the words and music. That actually meant I had to have something in my head before I got to his place. So I fumbled all over the keyboard for about an hour hoping against all odds that the muses might strike with something suitable for his lyric. I was at my friend, David Lowden's house, whose piano I love and he doesn't mind me appearing and giving him little concerts. David is 85 and is also a quick wit.

Taken by my friend Kathleen Holyoak.
Taken by my friend Kathleen Holyoak.

"What is that you're playing?" David asked.

"I think it's the new Christmas song that I'm writing with Larry." I said.

"Think again, and this time start with the words, 'this IS the Christmas song I'm writing with Larry.'" he said.

"It's that good?" I asked.

"It's just lovely," he said, "it's far away and nostalgic and close by all at the same time."

"That's exactly what I'm hoping for," I said somewhat relieved.

The evening went well with Larry and Marjorie, and their reactions were very similar to David's.

"I hope it's a hit!" exclaimed Marjorie, "I'm planning a very expensive funeral."

We doubled over in laughter.

The Nativity by Dan Freed

"They Called His Name Jesus" by Dan Freed. © 2004. All rights reserved. Used by permission
"They Called His Name Jesus" by Dan Freed. © 2004. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Our Nativity, the song lyrics

Words by Larry H. Lee
Music by Daniel Carter

Verse:
Looking back at sights of holiday joy
The lasting memory I see
Is a scene of a stable in Bethlehem
Placed under our Christmas tree.

The star that shines on top of the tree
Recalls that night of great joy
When God's Son came to set us free,
To set us free,
A little Babe, a little Boy, and

Chorus:
Baby Jesus asleep in the manger,
The shepherds draw near to see
This miracle, this little stranger.
Choirs of angels singing
Tidings of peace and good will.

Mary and Joseph are watching,
Embraced in light and love and care
Beneath the tree,
Our Christmas tree,
Beneath our Christmas tree.

Verse:
Carols sung by a flickering light
Of dancing yuletide fire;
Echoing praises that filled the night
When shepherds, the shepherds
Heard heavenly choirs.

Repeat Chorus:

Bridge:
Years have gone by at a hasty pace,
Many customs of old now gone.
Yet a scene remains;
A symbol to all
And the memory of Christ lives on.

Chorus
Baby Jesus asleep in the manger,
The shepherds draw near to see
This miracle, this little stranger.
Choirs of angels singing
Tidings of peace and good will.

Mary and Joseph are watching,
Embraced in light and love and care
Shepherds and wisemen come
To see the little Babe.
Our nativity
Our nativity,
Beneath our Christmas tree.

© 2013 by Larry H. Lee and Daniel Carter.
All rights reserved. Copying prohibited.

Mary and the Baby Jesus by Dan Freed. © 2004. All rights reserved. Used by permission
Mary and the Baby Jesus by Dan Freed. © 2004. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Resources

LA Times Article about Larry H. Lee:

Lee to Retire From Western at Year's End

About Dan Freed and his art:

FreedWorks Fine Art

Dan Freed Art at Blogspot

The Demo of this song was recorded at

Red Light Recording

More by this Author


8 comments

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan

Daniel, I do not think it an accident that your neighbors, Larry and Marjorie, such a charming and delightful duo, melded hearts with your own.

Amazing to hear just one of the gifts your friendship produced. This gentle and beautiful song is filled with a nostalgic ring of the reason for the Season - Christmas that is meant to celebrate the birth of a King.

You amaze me Daniel and I am so blessed to know you here on the hubs! Keep using that giftedness bestowed on you from the Father above. Voted up +++ shared here and on my writers FB page. :)

Blessings!

Mekenzie


Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 2 years ago from Western US Author

Mekenzie, thank you so much for your kind comments, and thank you for stopping by for this little visit!


Buddy Youngreen 2 years ago

Hey Dan...

What a wonderful coming together of you and your friends to produce a thing of beauty! There is a saying that, "A Thing of beauty is a joy forever." Your soul overflows with creative genius and the ability to touch so many other souls and fill them with appreciation of what they have been given in life. Thank you... and keep it up!

Your friend and "Buddy"


Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 2 years ago from Western US Author

Ahh, Buddy, my dear friend, thank you for stopping by to read and listen and watch. I can't wait to see your next production. I always love them so much. You make life such a sweet thing for so many of us.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 2 years ago from The Ozarks

That is such a beautiful song, and I love the way the voices work together in the performance!


Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 2 years ago from Western US Author

Thank you, Aya! I can't wait to demo all the songs we've created. Happy days ahead in getting them recorded.


the bset 2 years ago

the bset i loveit


Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 2 years ago from Western US Author

Thank you, Mohammad! :)

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