Glory to God is a Christmas Song and the first song I ever wrote. I had always wanted to write songs – music and lyrics – but had been unable to write out anything that made any sense over the years. By 1989 I had written plenty of articles, stories, philosophy and poetry – but I had never written a song…which was a goal of mine since I had taken piano lessons as a child. In the fall of 1989, our family had just moved to Hahn AB, Germany, and I was working the night shift during a base exercise; so my wife and young son spent the week at her parent’s house in Bruch so that I could sleep during the day without distraction.
Our piano at the time was on a small mezzanine just outside our bedroom in what was a tri-level house that we were renting in Monzelfeld, Germany. During my time alone in the house I decided to sit down at the piano for a minute, and see if I could make any progress towards my life-long goal of trying to write music and lyrics. As I sat down to attempt to compose a song, the first notes and chords seemed to make a little sense to me, so I got up to find a pencil and some paper just in case I had any success. When I sat back down at the piano I stopped, and put down the pencil and paper. I felt that if I was to write music it would be because God allowed me to have this talent, as I had been unable to write anything on my own after some twenty years of trying.
I had purchased a small Lladro statue of Mary in Spain while on a temporary duty assignment (TDY) there while I was in the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, a few years earlier. Although I was officially Presbyterian at the time, my wife – who is Roman Catholic – and I had attended Mass as a family for years by the fall of 1989. Before continuing in my attempts to write a song, I said a little prayer that went something like this, “Dear Lord, you know that it is my will to write music – and I pray that if it is also Your Will to allow me to write music, then let it be in accordance with Your Will – not mine, Amen.” At that point seeing the Lladro figurine of Mary above me on my piano, I said a second prayer which was, “Dear Mary, I pray that you would intercede with your Son Jesus – my Lord and Savior – for the ability for me to write music, Amen.”
It was immediately after these two prayers – in the following minute – that I began to write my first song, Glory To God. In my awareness there is a direct connection between my two prayers and my immediate ability to write songs. Not only did I write Glory To God, but followed it directly afterwards with, Sing Songs of Joy – my second song ever written. In fact, every time I sat down to the piano or later with the guitar, I wrote song after song until I had written over 200 songs. I was overwhelmed by the work – and the responsibility – to now write down and document these songs on paper, type them up, and eventually copyright them.
So why would God have given me the ability to write music? I can only explain this from my own experience and viewpoint, but here’s my best explanation to answer this question. First of all, God always knew my heart and my desire to not only write songs, but to follow Him – and He knew that granting me the ability to write songs would bring glory to Him – not me. Secondly, it was obvious that the talent wouldn’t be my own, as I was unable to write any song on my own. Third, God would challenge me personally because I wasn’t a musician in any sense of the word – and I couldn’t sing a note – and although I would still long to write popular music and play it myself, at least half of my songs that I would write would have a spiritual meaning in them. So God granted this ability to me in the end not because it would give me any personal success through them, but because I would be drawn closer to Him through my songwriting – and I was.
Beyond that simple explanation, I won’t begin to say what happened that afternoon in my gift to be able to write songs – because I don’t really know for sure myself. All I know is from that moment on I wrote more songs than I could manage and deal with on my own, and in the end I stopped writing songs until I knew what I was going to do with the ones I had already written – which I still haven’t managed to know as I write this 21 years later. So without further ado, Part Two of this post will be the first song I ever wrote, Glory To God.