Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song Insight: "Christmas Morn"

Composer: Greg Hintermeister, ©1995
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister
Recorded: 1995 in my home studio
Emotions: Fond memories, regret, hope


I've received some amazing gifts on Christmas morn. I remember early Christmases when our family of four would sit around the tree, play music from an old reel-to-reel, and share the time opening presents one at at time. The best part was watching my mom's reaction after opening a gift from my dad...who knew exactly what unexpected gift to give that perfectly showed his love for her.


Here's an early shot my Mom took of us boys. Sometimes we'd have Christmas in our home, sometimes at Grandpa's farm, but we were always together. Sometimes we'd have our Christmas early since we were lucky enough to take some trips to Florida during the break.

Other Christmases were filled with pets. My dad grew up on a farm, so having a pet in the house was not his idea of fun (let alone 4 guinea pigs!)...and the smell was not a fond memory-maker I'm sure. But many Christmases included laying by the lights of the tree with my guinea pig, Snowball.

(I think he's excited about Christmas too! Oh, and look at the wallpaper in the background...loved that pattern!) My brother's had one named Tippy, who, we later learned, was NOT a male since a few weeks after we brought him home we had baby guinea pigs!

I remember sledding on Christmas morn. A lot. Sometimes it was on a hill near our home, and sometimes it was on a hill at the camp my uncle ran, but it was always with friends who was glad I was with them. I tell ya, there's nothing like feeling wanted as a kid.

This is one Christmas morn a few years ago when my kiddos went sledding (yep, on a sled that he got for Christmas.)

One Christmas in 1986 included spending time with a young lady I met over the summer.

This is from a party for our youth group. It was then I realized the glitter of a Christmas tree can't compare at all to the sparkle this girl added to my life.

Yep, I've received some amazing gifts on Christmas morn.

But as I look back, the only gifts I remember, the gifts that really meant something, weren't wrapped under the tree. Sure the presents under the tree added to the atmosphere, but the gifts I remember were far better:
  • My whole family being together, focusing on each other
  • Seeing my mom open a gift that my dad picked out...and seeing the love shown at that moment
  • Pets, who love no matter what
  • Exploring as a family on warm beaches
  • Friends who actually wanted me to sled with them
  • Sweet smells from the kitchen making the family know there's a mom in the house who loves everyone enough to bake and cook.
  • A girl who added sparkle to my 17th Christmas morn and every day since
  • Four children who continue to show me how magical life can be

...and then there's the most important gift I've received.

I hesitate because I don't know if I've treated this gift well. Sometimes I've left it outside while I went about my business. Sometimes I embraced it in private only to tuck it snugly inside my pocket while out with friends. Sometimes I misplaced it, sometimes it felt fake, and sometimes it seemed so out-of-date that I wondered if it's worth mentioning.

But, sometimes, I would pin this gift on my chest and share it proudly with all who were curious.

In the end, the gift I received when I was seven by asking my Savior, Jesus, to lead my life, has changed everything. This is the gift that makes all Christmas mornings magical.

Merry Christmas. I hope you receive some amazing gifts this year, too.

Technical Specifics:
Recording Unit: Recording Unit: Yamaha MT1X cassette 4-track Acoustic Guitar: Ovation 1712 Custom Balladeer
Acoustic Guitar Mics: Recorded directly into 4-track
Vocal Mic: Old Yamaha dynamic mic

Recording Specifics:
I wrote and recorded this in 1995 in preparation for our first 'real' album release called "A Hint of Christmas"

Karyn and I sang Christmas carols together (a pure and joyful experience that we've let slip away in the chaos of life...need to get that back). One year we sang during intermission of "A Christmas Carol", and we kept hearing, "Where can I buy this music?". So the next year we decided to record a real album. We gathered the songs together in July (trips to the library), and we started arranging and recording the songs. Some we recorded in our home studio (like "Christmas Morn"), but others we recorded at RP Recording Studios, a local recording studio in town.

I loved that experience of recording in a real studio, especially when we got to use $2500 microphones! (someday I'll get the courage to talk about when I borrowed one of his $1000 mics, I set it up and recorded only to later discover that the mic was pointing the wrong direction!...still embarrassing to think about)

The album was the first for many things, including getting the rights to the songs, working with duplication companies, graphic artists to render what Karyn created (isn't it a cool cover!?!)

This song was fairly straight forward to record and was all done on my 4-track cassette recorder (hence the hiss in the background).

I am quite proud of this song, and frankly the whole Christmas album.

I think it's time to record another one for next Christmas.

Question: What are your favorite Christmas songs?

Lyrics ©1995 Greg Hintermeister
Verse 1:
Last night I dreamed of Christmas Morn
The sun came through my window,   I was four
I knew when the light came I would be
playing with my two guinea pigs by that tree

And I............loved,  Christmas morn
And I wondered, who’s that present for

Verse 2:
That sun came through my window,  I was ten
thoughts filled with snow men, hayrides, and my new sled
I’d go so fast down that hill
I must confess, I was sure that I could fly
I waved to my mom and dad as I flew by

And I............loved,  Christmas morn
And I heard somewhere a little boy was born

I’d feel the sun on me like some one song to be sung
Every year the light would be there
Even when I didn’t care
My memories would play tricks on me
And I could see an echo of what used to be  beside that tree

Verse 3:
Last night I dreamed of Christmas morn
The Son came into my heart, for that, He was born
I know now that when I wake, Christmas morn t’will be
I’ll that light on my window
And I’ll believe

And Christmas morn
I can’t wait until I wake to see the break of dawn
And Christmas morn
And I’ll be there.....on Christmas morn

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