chelsea cookThis is the time of year that almost all of us agree we should strive for all year. There are, however, some drawbacks to all the holiday madness but we will skip those for the moment. We can get all grouchy, mean spirited and non-communicative any time we wish just by following the lead of our elected representatives. Let's not do that. Garrison Keeler wrote a great piece which appeared in the Tulsa World a long while back about all the non-Christian things that are being attached to Christmas. No matter what you think of Garrison Keeler, if you think Christmas should be Christian, you really should have read that piece. I agree with him almost 100%.
And furthermore, I may add a few remarks, to very few people's surprise, about the Christmas music. On my way to somewhere important a couple of days ago I was again struck by the magnificence of the Christmas music. Especially the old music and I am not talking about music from 10 years ago. The music I am referencing is centuries old and getting better with age (yep, sorta like me).
What got me thinking of this was that much of our traditional Christmas music is as great or even better without words. The feeling the music evokes transcends expression by words and makes you know that this is Christmas! Many of the “old masters” wrote some of the best music ever created by mankind. Other than buildings, there are very few things created by man that have lasted several centuries. George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” was written in 1741 which makes it older than the USA. “TheBoar’s Head Carol” was originated in about 1541 and has a very interesting story. Almost 500 years later it is still being sung. That is the lasting power of music.
We hear the standard carols and know the words. The world has become a community of exchange and here in the USA we have so many people from different countries that we are able to hear many different Christmas carols. Many years ago I discovered a “new” song called “Ukrainian Christmas Bells” and I played it almost every year with the Junior High band (and sometimes the high school). It became one of my favorites but I discovered this song was very, very old. It now has entered our American music as if it always belonged there. It is a celebration of Christmas, pure and simple.
Guess what? Jingle Bells is not a Christmas song. Frosty the Snowman is not a Christmas song. Sleigh Ride is not a Christmas song and certainly Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer is NOT a Christmas song. You probably enjoy listening and singing these (except for Grandma) but they are “winter” songs, not Christmas. Yes, they are fun and enjoyable so enjoy them.
I heard an Elvis Presley song where he is moaning about a “Blue, Blue Christmas.” Why in the world would anyone put out a song as depressing as that to be played at Christmas? The holiday season is hard enough on those who are having a bad time without one of the richest people of his time telling them Christmas was a downer.
Before we go on too far I do not believe there is a “war on Christmas” as some of your TV talking heads and completely daffy politicians would try to have you believe. No, there isn't. People who make their living selling things try to find ways to entice you and that is fair. That is why we have so many commercials in the papers and on TV. If they can sell you a Barbie Doll which looks like a teenage hooker so they can feed their family, so be it.
You don't have to buy that doll. And you don't have to watch 400 idiot shows using every theme except the Bible and pretend it is a Christmas show. That is not a war on Christmas, it is the way some people try to make a living and other people get entertained. I don't like it so I don't buy or watch that genre. If you think about it, a war on Christmas would defeat the purpose of those who are accused of such. That wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.
Even at that, on a calm, clear night with the sky full of stars, when you hear the strains of “Silent Night, Holy Night,” there is a feeling like no other on any other night. One can almost believe in peace on Earth and goodwill to man. May you have a Blessed Christmas.