John Christmas
Recording Artist - Producer - Multi-Instrumentalist

The History of John Christmas

January 1955 saw the beginning of a new era for the world.  Everything Changed!  Music, poetry, film, radio, entertainment, sports, automobiles, medicine, and the list goes on.  Social Interaction between different cultures, and the coming of a new way of life set the tone for the coming days.  Television was coming into every home along with the telephone with your own private line.  Thus, connecting us with everything and everyone!  That time was the turning point for a new direction.

There was one more thing that started in January 1955.  On a cold winter's night, just past midnight, in Memphis, Tennessee, there was a poor and frightened young woman in labor with her fourth child at the Memphis Baptist Hospital.  She gave birth just after midnight to a healthy baby boy.  It was discovered however that she had terminal breast cancer and would have to stay in the hospital for treatment for 6 months.  The young child was released to his grandmother while the mother remained in the hospital where she had her left breast amputated along with most of the muscle in her left arm.  She began chemo-radiation treatments while her family prayed for a Miracle!  That brave young women was my Mother and that little baby boy was me.  That was my entrance into this new world!

My mother did receive a miracle and recovered. She is 93, has given me love all my life and lives in Colorado and remains my most influential teacher of my life.  Growing up in Memphis we attended the Pentecostal Church until I started school and then we started going to The Unity Church.  I would still attend the Pentecostal Church whenever I visited my Grandmother.  Mam-maw, (as we called her) also took me to tent revivals whenever they were in town.  I learned to play guitar in the Pentecostal church and also to play "in the spirit" which was when I made my first connection to music and the power of the Spirit in Music.

My grandmother moved to Hamilton Ohio before I started first grade.  I would visit her in the summer.  She still took me to the Pentecostal Churches and Tent Revivals.  I remember one of my favorite evangelist, Brother A.A. Allen and His Miracle Revival.  He was such a positive, uplifting speaker and his choir and musicians were so good.  Those early days in the Pentecostal revivals were instrumental in shaping my music and speaking styles in such a tremendous way. But there was also something else going on back in Memphis.

Memphis was exploding with music in the early 60's.  I was being exposed to so many different types of music that were being made in Memphis at that time by some of the greatest artists of all time.  Record labels like Stax records, Sun Records, Hi, Records, American recording studio and many more.  Artists like Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Sam and Dave, Refus, Al Greene, Box Tops, Gentrys, Willie Mitchell, and many,  many, many more.  I was playing gospel Pentecostal high octane shoutin' music at my grandmothers church in the summer and all the new songs that were being played on the streets of Memphis the rest of the year.  My older sisters were either listening to the latest hits on the radio or dancing with their girlfriends to 45 rpm records.  Rock'n'Roll Music was always playing in the background of our house.  I loved listening to the radio at night before I went to sleep.  I was hearing such great music from Memphis plus other great music cities all over the country.  Black Music at that time was known as race music. There were white stations and black stations.  I would listen to Memphis radio WDIA for the latest music from black artist.  Stax recording studios was unique because they had an integrated band before it was accepted.  They put out some incredible recordings and inspired me so much.  About this time in my life I was about 7 or so when Jan and Dean came out with what was to become surf music.  This inspired the Wilson Boys and family to start writing their own surf music and gave the world  the Beach Boys and that started the "Wrecking Crew" which were some of the best studio players in history.  It was at this time in history that the most significant point in my life occurred.  On a Sunday Night in 1963, on the Ed Sullivan Show, America and young John Christmas was introduced to the Beatles.  I would never be the same again!

That night in1963 was the beginning of John Christmas, the Song Writer.  I had always come up with little tunes in my head that I would hum to myself.  But after the Beatles, I knew I wanted to write songs someday.  Not just any songs, but songs as great as the Beatles.  For the next 6 years, I eagerly awaited every Beatles album to come out and was always amazed at their new music.  Always fresh, new and exciting.  Pushing barriers and giving us that Magic.  No two songs sounded alike.  It set the standards for all of my songs and is still my standard. I had been playing music since I was about four years old but at eight years old I made the commitment to learn to play and write songs. (by the way, I haven't yet written anything that I think measures up to that Beatles standard, but I keep trying).

It was also at this time that I was starting to pay attention to what was being taught to me at church.  My mother has started attending the Unity Church of Christianity in Memphis.  I found Unity fascinating as I was starting to listen to its message.  I had already been introduced to the undeniable presence of the Spirit in the Pentecostal Church but had never heard about the "Mind of
Christ" which Paul and the apostles talk about, which we all can access and use that mind instead of our own.  Unity called it right mindedness.  That was the beginning of a metaphysical journey in my life.  My first Unity teacher was Rev. Elizabeth Sand Turner.  She was a Unity minister who taught the adult class at the church.  When I was twelve years old I asked if I could attend the adult Sunday school instead of the youth group to study with Rev. Turner.  I was allowed to attend the class and spent the next four years learning the Works of Paul, who was one of the early churches figures who talked about the one mind and the awakening.  Those beginning steps started my journey into Spiritual Awareness and the expression of the Divine in my life.  From my Pentecostal roots I developed my connection to the Spirit that is God, and from my Unity Roots I developed my Spiritual awareness of my oneness with God and all living things.

When I turned nineteen years old I moved to California to pursue a music career. When I arrived in California I was introduced to "A COURSE IN MIRACLES" by my mother and older sister who had already started reading it. I was truly amazed at the material and I have been a student of the course since that time.  I also studied all major world religions plus most of the spiritual happening that came along the way (TM, Lifespring, EST. and other encounter group experiences) basically the same as most of us who were exploring in those days)

I spent my twenties pursuing a music career at first in Los Angeles then moved to Nashville.  During that time I was writing songs that would have a good message and theme of current events etc.  It wasn't until 1987 that I dedicated my music to "A Course in Miracles".  I wanted to write, record, and produce popular rock, pop, r&b, soul, funk songs with "Course" lyrics .  I have spent the past three decades working with Garden Road Media Works helping them in accumulating the necessary equipment to record music at the highest levels.  I have produced two other artists besides myself who dedicate their talents to the "Course".  We all have dedicated our lives to bringing the ideas and spirit of "A Course in Miracles" to the Music we produce to be equal to any commercial music ever produced (except by the Beatles of course, and maybe a few others)

During the past thirty two years I have been a teacher of "A Course in Miracles".  I have conducted classes, workshops, seminars and lectures. I have produced my own television shows and helped others to improve their presentations and their productions. 

I would not have been able to accomplish any of this without the help of my personal "Course" Teacher Earl Raj Purdy. He was fundamental to my understanding of "A Course in Miracles".  Earl developed reading techniques that make the "course" come alive.  I attended one of Earl's classes in Memphis in the mid 80's and was blown away at how he made the course sound like conversations when he read to his class.  I (along with my friend Anna Kujawa) moved to Memphis to study with him.  (Anna had moved to Memphis from Atlanta and I had come from Nashville. We had both moved to Memphis from separate cities and arrived on the same day with the sole intent to learn to read like Earl.  She has been my close friend ever since that day) I spent the next 4 years studying with Earl privately and attending his classes.  There were many days we spent all day long reading together (mostly him reading to us) but it was the best.  And as far as I know only Earl, Anna and myself use his reading style in our classes.  We also adopted his approach to the "Course"  I am so grateful for both of them in helping me throughout this lifetime.  You can check out Youtube and facebook for both Earl and Anna's classes.  You won't be disappointed!

I would also like to acknowledge  my wonderful Course in Miracles partner, Pamela Bynum,  We have been practicing the course and studying together for the last eighteen years.  We also play music together and I am so grateful for her being in my life.  She is my Rock!

I am now recording more "Course" music from myself and other Garden Road Artist.  I am teaching classes and anything else I can do to help others with this material.  I am so grateful to my life and for my opportunity to help others return to love.

John Christmas!

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