Archive for November 2012

To Carol, or Not to Carol

November 23, 2012

Okay, so it’s after Thanksgiving now; we can safely move on to Christmas themes – and Christmas music, right?

As I’m sure you’re all aware, many stores have been playing Christmas music for weeks now.  I’ve been hearing mixed reactions, and while this isn’t the first year I’ve heard the “it’s too early for Christmas music” line, this is the first time I’ve seriously thought about it.  Not that my opinion has or needed to change, personally, but I wanted to see the other side (if possible).

Why would people have such a problem with Christmas music?  Actually, I think the problem is partly just that they’re not ready for it to be Christmas already (and again).  For crying out loud, summer just ended . . . and now it’s Christmas already!  I also heard one radio DJ complain that it was taking the focus away from Thanksgiving, not allowing us the time to truly be thankful.  I can sympathize, to some extent, although Thanksgiving has always come without needing that much in the way of music to herald it.

Another complaint is that all this music commercializes Christmas.  Yeah, I can see where the stuff that stores play is pretty much all the secular stuff that would indeed commercialize Christmas, especially the ones about Santa bringing us stuff.  Let’s face it.  Why would stores and radio stations be playing Christmas tunes this early?  To sell more, of course!  If we start thinking about it earlier, maybe we’ll end up paying more by the time we get to Christmas.  Whether it’s that we end up buying more overall or just that we have that much longer to talk ourselves into paying more for that gift we really want to get that special friend or family member, listening to Christmas music probably gets us more into the spirit of giving, or more importantly buying, and more of it.

So why do I still not have a huge problem with Christmas music this early?  Well, to tell you the truth, I started even earlier.  And I’m not just talking about the Christmas Cantata that I’m a part of at church.  We started rehearsals for that in October.  But I’ve been singing Christmas music, some secular but mostly sacred, since . . . last Christmas.  And the Christmas before.

You see, I never really stop singing carols altogether.  They just become more infrequent as I give myself space to sing all the other good music out there.  And I’m not the only one for whom Christmas is an all year deal.  A lot of people I know will say that Christmas is for all year round.  And my boss will walk down the halls either whistling or reinventing “Deck the Halls” in the middle of July!  Other people complain that it’s too early for him to be whistling that, but I just grin.

Maybe I like Christmas, and Christmas music in specific, because in my expectant hope of Christ’s second coming, I enjoy looking back to His first coming.  As One Small Child, Away in a Manger, In the Little Village of Bethlehem.  Having played an angel many years ago (not necessarily any more of a typecast now than it wasn’t then), I like to imagine myself on the hillside as a whole choir of angels sang.  I’ve long been in awe of the way God brought the wise men to Bethlehem, bearing gifts that must have been, well, a Godsend, when Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with our Savior.  And just as I joy in the first coming and all that happened, I look forward to the next coming singing “Joy to the World.”  You do know that one isn’t actually a first coming song right?  It’s about the second coming!  And I love it just as I do all the rest of God’s music.

So, while I have to say that those folks complaining that it’s too early for Christmas music have a point in terms of the commercialism it breeds, I am as guilty as anyone else.  And I’m not likely to stop my year-round habit any time soon.  So what if we have a whole month to remember the birth of Christ?  The rebel in me simply wants to remember it all year round!  After all, it was the most important thing in our history so far, so why not!?

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A Poem of Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012

I THANK YOU, FRIEND

I thank you, Friend, for the little things,
The gentle word when I’m feeling blue,
The widespread smile when I’ve done well,
That twinkling eye when you’ve a joke to share,
For these little things, I thank you, Friend.

I thank you, Friend, for the larger things,
The patient word when I’m astray,
The encouraging grin when anxiety strikes,
That lighthearted tone to balance my struggles,
For these larger things, I thank you, Friend.

I thank you, Friend, for the greatest things,
The hopeful word when the path is dark,
The hand that points to the narrow way,
That quiet presence when my world shifts,
For these greatest things, I thank you, Friend.

~Homeschool Graduate


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