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Christmas Day in the Morning: Awakening the Joy of Christmas

“Christmas Day in the Morning”

Story: Pearl S. Buck, adapted by David Warner

Music: Mack Wilberg (including “Oh, Watch the Stars;” music and text: African-American spiritual; addl. lyrics by David Warner)

This adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s “Christmas Day in the Morning” was part of the 2019 Christmas concert, narrated by actor Richard Thomas, with music by The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. 

The story begins when Rob looks back on his boyhood and remembers giving an unusual gift of self—a gift that filled him with Christmas joy. Now, fifty years later, Rob realizes he can still give a gift from his heart. The original Pearl S. Buck story, published in Collier’s magazine in 1955, concludes with the older Rob writing a letter of gratitude and love to his wife. As he does, Christmas joy is awakened in him once again. 

In the 2020 book adaptation Christmas Day in the Morning: Awakening the Joy of Christmas, the final pages provide a place for a letter of gratitude and love to be written—a letter that will be included as this book is given to a family member, neighbor, or friend. Givers may experience what Rob learned as a boy, and then again as a man: the gifts most likely to rekindle Christmas joy are not just the presents we give with our hands, but the gratitude we express from our hearts. The true joy of Christmas is to love and to awaken love. 

Richard Thomas, Emmy Award®–winning actor of stage, television, and motion pictures, first presented this story in the 2019 live Christmas concert of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. As a young man, Mr. Thomas came to international acclaim portraying the eldest son in The Waltons, a television series about a large family struggling to support itself on a farm during the Great Depression. The Walton family was much like the family in “Christmas Day in the Morning,” and the character played by young Mr. Thomas was not unlike the boy Rob himself. As Mr. Thomas joined the Choir and Orchestra on stage, he entered a re-created farmhouse kitchen. In that setting, his warm, familiar presence reminded many of their past family Christmases. Audience members young and old were also reminded of their own childlike desires to be good, and to find their hearts bursting with Christmas joy

Find the book, Christmas Day in the Morning: Awakening the Joy of Christmas, or the full concert repertoire on the 2019 Christmas Day in the Morning CD or DVD which includes extra bonus material.