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Steven S. Billings

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Friday, December 16, 2005

PUTTING THE "X" BACK IN XMAS

I never thought I'd see the day when I longed to see this old "abbreviation." For years I used to complain about it. "How dare they take 'Christ' out of 'Christmas,'" I used to say. I used to think that it was a gross inconsideration of the One whose birth is the whole cause for celebration this time of year. Now I yearn for the "good old days" when the holiday was spelled wrong but pronounced correctly, and nobody got their nose out of joint when you wished them a "Merry Christmas."

As an aside, it may be interesting to note that the use of "X" in the spelling of "Christmas" is not necessarily a slight to the Christ-Child. Centuries ago, "X" was used as a symbol for Christ. It is, after all, the first letter of the word "Christ" in Greek not an "ex," but a "chi." Transliterated, the word "Christ" in Greek is spelled "Xristos." So I don't always presume that the formulation "Xmas" is showing disregard for the Savior. It may be, but it may not be as well.

At any rate, "back in the day," so to speak, we didn't realize that one day we'd have bigger fish to fry that wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" might become taboo. In the same way, "back in the day," we didn't worry too much about the use of "Happy Holidays," because the "Happy Holidays" were Christmas and New Year's, unless you were Jewish, and then it might refer to Hanukkah. Nowadays, political "correctness" dictates that you include every holiday imaginable or risk ticking someone off.

But you know what? I'm tired of it. I'm not gonna do it anymore. No more "Happy Holidays" for me. It's "Merry Christmas." And if you don't like it ... tough! I don't care. It's the Holy Day I celebrate. It's the whole POINT of having any festivities at all, and if someone doesn't like it, then they just need to get a life. Accept the good wishes and be glad I wished them.

By the same token, I'm not going to get bent out of shape if someone wants to wish me a "Happy Whatever-it-is-they-celebrate." I'm just going to be glad someone thought kindly enough to wish me happiness, for whatever reason. So, if you want to wish me a Merry Christmas super! Right back atcha! Or if you want to wish me a "Happy Hanukkah," that's fine too. I'll also accept good wishes for Eid al-Fitr, Kwanzaa, and even Shiva Puja and Amitabha Buddha Day. Heck, I won't even get too worked-up if you wish me a "Merry Xmas."

But be prepared. You're gonna get a "Merry Christmas" in return!

2:19 pm est

SONG-O-RAMA

What a wonderful few months it has been!  Since completing the writing phase of my album, I've started work on a number of other projects, all of which have been delightfully surprising to me.

In November I started work on the four songs I've been asked to write for an international film release, which is scheduled to hit theaters all across India in June, with United States distribution still being determined.  A promotional soundtrack CD is scheduled to be released prior to the film.  It's an exciting endeavor.  I even get to play a small part in the film!  If you would like more info on the film itself, you can check out the website at: http://www.perceptionthemovie.com.

So far, I have demo'd the theme song (On My Way to the U.S.A.) and will be completing the demo for the love song (It's You, Samantha) sometime in the next few days.  I got to play the theme song for the entire cast this past Sunday afternoon.  It was well-received.  Now I have to finish writing the other two songs and get those demo'd as well, and then I'll have to get together with the composer who's writing the film score and schedule the full production of the songs.

The third song in the set is for a shopping montage, and I have some pretty solid ideas for it already.  I think it's going to be called "Girls' Day Out" and will be an up-beat country tail-kicker.  The fourth song is for an engagement celebration, which I think will be more lush and romantic.  We'll see.

In the midst of all this, I have been comissioned for another project which I can't talk about yet.  I wasn't sure, with all the other stuff going on, if I'd be able to write it, but it was completed in just a couple of days.  Now I have to do the instrumental bed and find some time to sing it.  Again, I was very pleased and surprised by how quickly it came to me and how easy it was to write.

So, it's busy, busy, busy!  But I am as content with my life as I've ever been, thanking God not only for the gift, but also for the opportunities to put it to use.

10:32 am est

Friday, December 2, 2005

THE PUZZLE MASTER

Well, it's a new month, and, therefore, it's time to upload another song demo.  This one was written back in September after a rather difficult Summer, during which there was a major controversy going on at our church.  If you read some of my past blogs, you'll know the one to which I refer.  After seeing God truly working "all things together for good," it seemed to me like He was indeed a Master puzzle solver.  So I wrote this little ditty to express some rather heavy feelings in a considerably lighter setting.  Listen to the song by clicking the link at the bottom of the "Me" Stuff page.

THE PUZZLE MASTER
 
Verse 1

Puttin' together the pieces of the puzzle
See 'em fit one by one
Little by little the pieces fill the middle
Until that puzzle's done.

Sittin' on the table is one big heap of trouble
Til the picture comes into view
Day by day, keep pluggin' away
Before you know it, you'll be through.

Chorus

Every puzzle has a process
A method, a system.
Every question has a purpose
An answer, a solution.

Verse 2

Wrackin' your brain, tryin' to fill the spaces
Of answer number 32 Down
A three-letter word for some exotic bird
That doesn't fly and makes no sound.

An ex-union boss is 27 Across
A word that has two "f"s and an "a"
Each clue you find can help you fill the others
With letters that can work both ways.

Chorus

Every puzzle has a process
A method, a system.
Every question has a purpose
An answer, a solution.

Bridge

Just like life, filled with many puzzles
Tryin' to find the answers is confusing.
Jesus Christ is the Puzzle Master
He has all the answers and is using
them to solve your puzzles.

Verse 3

Upwards, downwards, frontwards and backwards
Diagonally both ways too
It takes a keen eye, but you'll get it by and by
The letters left then give you a clue.

Check 'em off the list to see the ones you've missed
So you won't end up in defeat
Circle every word and you will be assured
Your puzzle soon will be complete.

Chorus

Every puzzle has a process
A method, a system.
Every question has a purpose
An answer, a solution.

(Repeat)

9:25 pm est

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Click one of the links above to view earlier posts.

For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21)

Be sure to get in touch so I know you're out there!