Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Music

A few days ago Katie borrowed a Julie Andrews CD from the library. Her clear crisp voice and the songs that were from the album we had many years ago reminded me of the Christmas music we heard. I Saw Three Ships come sailing in on Christmas morning, on Christmas morning.
We had a gray and white record player that you could load up to five 33 1/2, long playing records. You could also play singles, 45's, on it with special insert for the wider hole. I didn't do the 45's much until I was in sixth grade.
For Christmas, Julie Andrews sang, Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians from a church in a snowy place up north entertained, and several albums from Firestone filled our house with this music as we decorated, rested and relaxed. The Guy Lombardo tweaked my imagination as I listened to the crowd murmuring between songs, a big Christmas gathering, probably recorded in hot August. My favorite was Here Comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane.
As I got older, I liked my music. I had John Denver's Christmas album. My roommate in nursing school played Bing Crosby's White Christmas album. I liked the Hawaiian Christmas song. Again, liking that warm Christmas. I think ever since Denise from South Africa lived with us and said they went to the beach on Christmas Day, I have loved the idea of a tropical Christmas. Maybe why I liked the red pepper lights in the desert as well.
So many of our Christmas songs are really glorifying snow. Do we really have to have snow at Christmas? Well, it is better than rain and dreary.
Christmas concerts growing up were fun, as well as in younger years learning Christmas songs in school, like Up on the Rooftop andJolly Old Saint Nicholas. My favorite year in sixth grade under Mrs. Joy Tobin(with a name like Joy, she had to be enthusiastic), we sang Lo' How a Rose 'ere Blooming and our great finale, either Joy to the World or Let There Be Peace On Earth thrilled us as the Vietnam War was over, at least some peace treaty was being signed by Kissinger. Up on that auditorium stage looking over the audience, my spirit soared in the moment.
Now we enjoy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and general snow songs, sleighing songs at the concerts. I had the choral and string concerts this week.
Then there were the cantatas we labored so many months for in church or the Sunday School Christmas programs. Eugene Peterson wrote many of them. The last one I was in, Mary, Did You Know? had many great songs to find pleasure and meaning in singing. My favorite line about Mary knowing she is looking into the face of God, the Great I Am, crescendo surging. Hard to keep my feet on the ground with that one.
What would Christmas be without the music? The words to the carols telling the whole story from birth to redemption to the new Heaven and Earth. Joy to The World.
Or enjoy Burl Ives singing about the mistletoe, "Kiss her once for me" We have all types, but listen now, for it will all be gone December 26...
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