Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas music

We are two blocks from Court Street, far too close in December because the downtown pole speakers play Christmas muzak all over the street, and consequently all over the surrounding area. We hear it whether we want to or not. Fortunately, windows are shut down tight or “White Christmas” would find its way inside, like those pesky lady bugs that just now are dying, thanks to the cold.
I could stand outside in beautiful first snow and hear far more than I wanted to know about Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe.
I love Christmas music. In my life, I must have been part of a thousand gatherings were “Joy to the World” brought the assembled to their feet. I never tire of it. “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming” is as gorgeous as it is haunting, and that last line of the refrain of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” is enough to conjure up all the very best images of all my Christmases past. My wife and I play Christmas music on our Sonos speakers in the center of the living room. A week before Christmas, Handel’s Messiah is on most all the time.
I’m no Scrooge, is what I’m saying, but I found the downtown speakers constant blaring of seasonal music—most of it secular—horribly annoying.
Christmas itself is so familiar, so intimate, that it seems almost like a buddy from whom we expect so much that we can’t help but somehow be letdown. Christmas is so close to us that a whole lot of us have a love/hate thing with the whole season. Yuletide brings out the best in us—and the worst. Ask any retail clerk.
It isn’t perfect, and everybody knows it. But that having been said and despite the Wal-Mart excesses of Black Friday, the whole season is an immense blessing for all of us—no matter what our faith.
I’m still, always, happy for the season. I love the golden glow our wreath casts nightly over the snow on the front porch. I love the bear nativity scene that comes out of nowhere and sits on our lampstand table. I love the tree decorations, little tokens of where we’ve been throughout our married life. I love buying gifts for people, lots of them. I love the story. I love the love he’s brought—Jesus Christ that is. At Christmas, we’re all kids.
One of every winter’s greatest disappointment is Christmas being over. For a moment, even through the muzak, God’s perfect beauty shines forth in sometimes very imperfect ways; but what it brings is, well, joy to the world.


TWELFTH NIGHT/EPIPHANY      I read this line in a interview with Christian Wiman in Christianity Today:   "Jurgen Mol...