Friday, November 5, 2010
Sounds of the Season
I'm not afraid -- at all -- to admit that I already have about a month, or even six weeks, of Christmas music in my system. That's right, folks. I think I heard my first strains of my absolute favorite Christmas album -- "Home for Christmas" by Amy Grant -- in the last couple days of September.
I've said it for years and I'll say it again: I love too many Christmas albums to listen to them only a month. It's usually two months for me, but this year, it's three. Now, I can't take the hard-core holiday stuff yet, but the Godly stuff? The beautiful ballads that remind me of singing with my family at church on Christmas Eve? You better believe it!
I really love Christmas, and it isn't because of the presents. For me, it truly is about Christ and family and how each of us has that chance, every year, to stand outside in the crisp, cold, fresh air on Christmas Eve and to realize we really are just a small speck of humanity in a big world on a blessed night. I love the way concessions are made for people to be with family, to be away from work (hopefully) and to be a child again, if only for awhile.
So I think that's part of my love affair with holiday music. My memories seduce me time and time again, and I relish the fact that I'm given the privilege to help to make those special memories now for my children.
I remember the 8-track in the old Chevrolet Impala we had as kids blaring All that I want is to know that you love me and this will be my finest Christmastime and, funny enough, on the same mix, Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad / I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart on the way home from selecting the year's live Christmas tree.
There's the memory of stifling giggles with my sister when I was ten or so and singing at church, What child is this, who laid to rest? Where ox and ass are feeding...
There are the years of music with my dad, who bought every single "Very Special Christmas" album and blared it throughout the season. These albums kept me exposed to Christmas music from all genres, be the artist Sheryl Crow, Tevin Campbell or Run DMC. It was December 24th on Hollis Avenue in the dark / When I see a man chillin' with his dog in the park / I approached very slowly with my heart full of fear / Looked at his dog, oh my God, an ill reindeer....
There are also the memories of Kenny and Dolly's classics greeting my siblings and I as we descended the stairs on Christmas mornings in junior high and high school. Christmas without you / White Christmas and I'm blue / Like fireworks with no fuse / Christmas without you....
Just today I listened to the Chipmunks Christmas twice with Max and Colby. And let's not forget the Muppets. These are the fibers of my childhood Christmas memories.
I try not to be a stick in the mud. I am always looking for new holiday music to love. Last year, it was Sugarland and this year, just as soon as I get a chance, I'm buying the Indigo Girls new holiday CD.
I'm in the mood and in the spirit; there's no doubt about it.
I guess the Christmas song that sums it up best for me right now is Amy Grant's "Grown-Up Christmas List." (It's been done by many artists, but I gotta go with Amy...)
No more lives torn apart / That wars would never start / That time would heal all hearts / And everyone would have a friend / And right would always win / And love would never end / This is my grown-up Christmas list....
This really is my grown-up Christmas list: that we all know the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, that we treat each other with respect and dignity, that we always have the courage to do the right thing and that the world we leave our children is better than the one we've known.
A very early merry Christmas to you and yours!