Today brings all things Christmassy… Christmas is a hard time of year- for some it brings added pressure and stress, for some it brings the reality that they are alone to the forefront of their lives, for some it is a time to complain about snow, and religious fanatics, and the corruption of the whole season.
It saddens my heart whenever I see a giant red and green image on facebook that lets me know that I should be shamed if I say anything other than “Merry Christmas” or [insert religiously appropriate holiday greeting]– or just as often that I should be shamed if I say anything but the all-encompassing “Happy Holidays”. How about I say what I want to… you say what you want to… we both take it as a gesture of good will, be happy that someone bothered to take time out of their busy hectic day to pass on a greeting, and move on with our lives.
ALL the Christmas songs… These are some of my favourites and reflections on why they are:
Where are you Christmas- Faith Hill
Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter, you used to bring me? Why can’t I hear music play?
My world is changing. I’m rearranging. Does that mean Christmas changes too?
If it’s one of my favourites, then why is it sad you ask? Well, it’s sad because of WHY its on my favourite list… because too many years of my not so long life (I’m 23) have brought the feeling found in this song- that our world is far too preoccupied with what doesn’t matter, and not enough with what does. The song does turn around and gives some uplifting sage advice at the end… “let love into your heart and you’ll feel like Christmas all the time”… but unfortunately most of the world doesn’t seem to have picked up on that.
Believe- Josh Groban
We were dreamers, not so long ago
But one by one, we all had to grow up
When it seems the magic’s slipped away, we find it once again on Christmas day
Trains move quickly to their journey’s end
Destinations are where we begin again
Oh Josh Groban… the heart throb of every female Christian teen… and some males too. If only for the reason that his sweet melodious voice is the one singing, it makes it onto my list… but in all seriousness- the message of this song is kind of like an alternate (and [pessimistically speaking] more realistic) ending to the one previous (Faith Hill). The message in one light is that we only get to feel that kind of magic once a year… and then you just have to wait… again. I fully realize that we all have to grow up, but at the same time- there is no doubt that every adult has an inner child somewhere. Christmas is one of those holidays where if you can get past all the stress and commotion of capitalism… then you are allowed, and even encouraged to let your inner child show… its called “holiday spirit”. When we get to the end of childhood, where the magic fade, and the train has reached its journey’s end- we don’t just stop living, we grab our bags, file off the train, and begin the real challenge- finding Christmas in the adult world, and letting it shine, the torch has been passed and we must now be the creator’s of Christmas magic for the children behind us.
When Christmas comes to town- Matthew Hall and Megan Moore
I’m wishing on a star, and trying to believe, that even though it’s far, he’ll find me Christmas Eve
I guess that Santa’s busy, cause he’s never come around, I think of him when Christmas comes to town.
The best time of the year, when everyone comes home; with all this Christmas cheer, it’s hard to be alone.
Putting up the Christmas tree, with friends who come around, it’s so much fun when Christmas comes to town.
When Santa’s sleigh bells ring, I listen all around; the herald angels sing, I never hear a sound…
This song is nice and sweet but its also a reminder… of the danger of filling children’s minds with hope- sometimes for things they have little-to-no chance of getting. Hope is great and everything but it has a dangerous side- children understand magic… they understand it to be an infinite resource… and unfortunately it doesn’t actually exist. So not to be all Grinchy but I have to wonder if it’s really a good thing to be propogating some of these things… only to set them up for heart break down the road? Is that supposed to be a life lesson- that everything nice and wonderful, eventually will turn out to be false?
Mary Did You Know?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know, that your baby boy has come make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered will soon deliver you.
This one is not just a Christmas song… it’s a Christmas carol (or hymn) [religious message is what makes the difference]. I love this song all year round, but it is technically assigned to the Christmas section (because Jesus is a baby in it… or at least that’s my guess as to the reasoning). It is a good reminder of the “reason for the season”… Jesus- God’s gift to the world… if God were Santa, then Jesus is your present on Christmas morning. I might be wrong but that might be one of the original reasons why Saint Nicholas (the guy Santa is fashioned after– shocker I know) gave gifts to children in the first place, to remind children of the gift given to all of humanity, a child- a saviour- the one and only son of God. (and for you Trinity folks… in unity with him and the Spirit… blah blah blah– that’s another day’s post). The other day I witnessed a father helping a son open up a game (a pre-Christmas gift) that the boy was having difficulty with… the boy exclaimed “You’re my saviour!!!” to which I piped up (quite cheesily) “I have a saviour too!” *boy looks at me and tilts his head to the side with an adorable curious expression* “His name is Jesus!” I smile, the boy smiles- he understood. I’m not usually big on the evangelistic front but I saw an opportunity to bring it up without being aggressive. (That’s right fundamentalists: humor and gentleness can go a long way).
This year I’ve heard a lot of complaining, I’ve heard a lot about the corruption, and I’ve been personally affronted with an act of shaming for my choice of holiday greeting– multiple times… with different greetings (there really is no pleasing these people). I’m hoping that things will look and feel a little brighter tonight at the Christmas Eve service… family, candles, singing, and of course a preacher I consider friend at the pulpit– maybe even a play with the kids.
and not to steal from Santa but “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”