Watch “That’s What Christmas Means to Me”
When you think of what Christmas means to you, what comes to mind? Memories of gatherings with family and friends? Melodies of favorite Christmas songs that have delighted you through the years? Perhaps Christmas evokes memories of people reaching out to help one another and wishing each other a joyful season? Or does Christmas bring feelings of hope and gratitude for the birth of the Savior born in a manger in far away Bethlehem?
When The Tabernacle Choir music director, Mack Wilberg, travels to a new city, he doesn’t go sightseeing to check out the landmarks or tourist sites; he goes to the local music shops. “I’m always doing a lot of research and detective work,” he says. And sorting through music, he finds what he calls “remarkable things” not heard much on the concert stage today.
A good example is a song recorded in the early 1950s, “That’s What Christmas Means to Me.” It seemed just the right fit for a special moment in the Choir’s 2021 two-hour retrospective Christmas special. The moment finds Wilberg and Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell at the piano on an otherwise empty Conference Center stage. The song, popularized by singer Eddie Fischer about 50 years ago, expresses what Christmas means to most of us—the memories of loved ones, service, and gatherings to celebrate the season.
But the performance of the song doesn’t stop on the concert stage. It is also the focus of a new Choir Christmas video that not only showcases Mitchell with Wilberg at the piano, it also draws upon tender highlights from the Choir’s previous Christmas videos to add additional feeling to the timeless lyrics. The message is heartfelt and points to the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem and the teachings of Jesus Christ in his ministry—kindness, charity, hope, and healing.
“We think everyone will find something in this video that speaks to their memories of Christmas, and adds to this year’s season,” suggests Scott Barrick, general manager of the Choir. “It’s short, poignant and filled with warmth.”
As the video concludes, a question comes on the screen asking, “What does Christmas mean to you?” Perhaps your family and friends might share with one another your answers to that question.
The video is part of the Choir’s tribute to decades of remarkable Christ-centered Christmas programs. This theme is reflected through all of the Choir’s 2021 Christmas products—from the PBS and BYUtv special broadcasts and the DVD 20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir to the new Choir and Orchestra album Christmas Best, which has already hit #1 on Billboard’s Classical Traditional chart, to the beautiful book Keepsake Christmas Stories, which promises to be a collector’s edition and family treasure for years to come.