This time of the year is special in so many ways. For many, seasonal music tops the list of things we look forward to. I have a rule at my house; nothing Christmas till Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror. Everyone has a favorite holiday song and usually one that they detest and wish it would just disappear. My least favorite is “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” sung by Elmo and Patsy.
My favorite song is “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” from the Judy Garland 1944 musical, Meet me in St. Louis. Hugh Martin composed the song, and when he left Hollywood, he retired in Encinitas. He was a very quiet and gentle man who enjoyed taking walks around town and then to Moonlight beach, which was near his residence. One day I found out that he attended the Oceanside 7th Day Adventist church. That just happened to be the location where the church I pastored met on Sundays. Pastor Eddie Dopp was a very gracious host of our small church for over a decade. And little did we know that, the grand piano that was in the sanctuary, was Hugh Martins personal piano that he had used professionally over the years.
One day I asked Hugh if he would come and play his song for our service. He graciously said yes, and he asked Pastor Dopp’s wife, Monica to sing with him. It really made for a very Merry Christmas for our congregation.
Just a side note. The Oceanside Adventist church is one of our many partners bringing dinners for the homeless.