Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas shows and songs

Last month I wrote a little rant about my frustration with the lengthened Christmas season. I finally figured out why it bothers me so much. All through high school I was in both band and chorus. (Apparently our school wasn't cool enough for 'choir'.) Every fall we would rehearse for the Christmas concert, which was the climax of the semester. So I spent two hours of every day for three months of every year singing and playing Christmas songs. Some years I would be singing a different arrangement of the same song I was playing in band. So I was probably humming "O Come All Ye Faithful" for about a QUARTER of my high school career! (And that's counting summers!)

I was so happy when I finally got to college and no one even thought about Christmas until after finals (which some years did not end for me until December 23). I like Christmas music a lot more now. I sit around the living room and sing them with our kids. And as long as they are confined to December, I'm okay with that now.

We watched Frosty the Snowman the other night with the kids. I haven't seen it since I was in grade school. I remembered it being a lot longer, but then everything seems bigger when you're a kid. I've become a lot more sensitive to the magical elements in kids programs since I've become a parent. It's not that I think it teaches kids that magic is real, but rather that it teaches kids that magic is not real. According to the biblical narrative, magic is real, and it's on par with idolatry. But I thought to myself that we're probably just being overly protective Christian parents. Our kids are pretty smart, and we had a jolly happy time together.

After Frosty was another cartoon, "Frosty Returns." Neither Diana nor I remembered this one. It had John Goodman in it and we guessed it must have been made in the early nineties. But here's what really freaked me out. The first scene shows all the children happy about the first snowfall and all the adults mad about it. That seemed a little strange. But then in the second scene, a boy says to his sister, "Let's go outside and construct a fertility goddess." My wife and I turned to each other sort of stunned. In unison we declared that we were done with TV for the night (which we rarely watch anyway) and sang Christmas songs. Yipes. What was that all about? A fertility goddess? Maybe we weren't being overly protective after all. I would have liked to have watched the rest so I could see how the theme plays itself out, but not with my kids.

It would be fun to watch Rudolf this year, if we catch it at the right time. But I wonder if they will have a sequel where Burger Meister Meisterburger sacrifices children to Molech. Or maybe they will have a winter solstice celebration and dance naked around the Yule log. Or perhaps they'll get all the children singing Christmas songs for three months of every year in order to endlessly torment everyone who was ever in high school band and chorus.

2 comments:

Jake said...

I recently watched that old claymation Rudolph movie, where Rudolp goes to the land of forgotten toys (or whatever it's called), and it kinda' freaked me out. Pretty trippy stuff.

J. K. Jones said...

I found the opposite effect. I was in Concert Choir or Select Choir at the University of Tennessee. We always prepared for the Christmas concert with a certain revelry.

I was privileged to sing with Barbara Mandrel and Reba McIntyre as a part of the back up choir. That was a great experience, and it was broadcast on TNT (back when it was “The Nashville Network”). Mind you, Reba should never sing “O Holy Night;” it’s just not here style.

I love to sing the carols. Certain phrases, buried in the ‘unknown verses,’ jump to mind:

“…far as the curse is found…”

“.. truly He taught us to love one another …”

“… radiant beams from His holy face; with the dawn of redeeming grace; Jesus, Lord, at Your birth; Jesus, Lord, at Your birth.”

“Venite, adoramus; Venite, adoramus; Venite, adoramus Dominum.”

God bless you and yours in this holiday season!

J. K.