The ads in the paper. The ads on TV. That holiday aisle in Wal-Mart. For weeks, our sons have been yelling “I want that! I want that!” as the TV cycles through five minutes of ads for every two minutes of Phineas and Ferb.
I’m really not a fan of all the pre-Thanksgiving Christmas hype. I think it’s because Christmas is so commercialized. Instead of thinking about Jesus Christ, I’m thinking, “Oh, crap. How can we afford to buy gifts for the kids, our family, and travel twelve hours to St. Louis to see everyone?”
I’m sure Rin agrees with me on this, so I won’t labor here. I’ll concentrate on the one thing which might divide us — Christmas music. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s never too early for Christmas music.
I enjoy Christmas music. I’m listening to it now. I’m that guy who will turn on the “Christmas Music 24/7” station and listen to 12 versions of The Little Drummer Boy.
I think the reason I enjoy Christmas music is that it sparks a lot of memories.
When I hear Johnny Mathis sing “Sleigh Ride” I automatically think back to when I was a little kid riding with my Grandpa to pick up my Aunt Mully for our family Christmas Eve party. On the drive out to her house, I’d press my nose to the cold car window and stare through the glass at the houses outlined in Christmas lights. One year, Aunt Mully (a very large lady) got stuck in the front seat of the car. She was wearing a fur stole and a big fur hat and screaming “Alfred! I can’t get out!” Grandpa (a pretty big man, himself) opened the passenger door and had to crawl across her lap to unlatch the seatbelt so she could get out. I stood in the snow and laughed and laughed. I still giggle at the memory.
My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. What a powerful song about the night Christ was born! One year, I was able to take Rin to Branson to see Andy Williams (she wanted to go) and he sang that song. One of my favorite versions, though, is by John Berry.
When I hear Jingle Bells, it makes me think of my oldest son. It’s one of the first Christmas songs a kid learns, and since he was three years old, we’ve been singing the tune with the words: “Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg/The Batmobile lost its wheel and the Joker got away. Hey!”
One of the most incredible Christmas songs is “Mary, Did you Know?” What a song to honor our Lord! My favorite version is by Kenny Rogers. Yes, the Gambler. It features Wynonna Judd. Yes, Judd.
In general, Christmas songs relay timeless messages about Christ, hope, and happiness. If the songs are not “Christian” they at least help us recapture a time when we were kids, or they bring about some happy memories. Unfortunately, Christmas songs can also bring about sadness. I’ve had this happen, and so has Rin. But I don’t think that is always bad. Sometimes it’s sadness wrapped in a happy memory.
So, bring on Christmas. As my favorite actress, Angela Lansbury, says: “I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again NOW!”