We awakened early this December morning. The crisp, cool air felt lively on my face as I opened the kitchen door to let in the outdoor air. At 58oF (14oC), the crisp air was a welcomed burst of freshness. The sunrise, though short, was a pretty ombre of yellow, peach, and pink strewn across the eastern horizon.
One of my Christmas traditions is listening to holiday-themed music. This year is no exception. For us, we began playing songs last Thursday, and continue every day, even if it’s only for an hour or so.
We turned on the music for a bit of festivity. Whilst listening, “The Little Drummer Boy” sung by Andy Williams popped up. This is the song whereby a little kid goes to Bethlehem to bang his drum for Baby Jesus since that was the only gift he could give. Ra-pum-pum-pum-a-dum. I listened closely to the lyrics this time. I heard something that struck me – or rather, it was something I didn’t hear that struck me:
Mary nodded . . . the ox and lamb kept time . . .
But wait! What about Saint Joseph? Where was he, and what was he doing at the time? What was the donkey doing? There is no mention of either of them in this song.
Granted, the lyrics are what they are. But is it always necessary to know more? I believe so. This song always seems to lack the full story. It would make a better story for me to know that Joseph took the donkey and rode to the other side of Bethlehem for carry-out, maybe an order of falafel or at least Chinese (it’s a Christmas tradition for some, of course.) Knowing that Joseph was an honorable and providing man, he would make sure Mary had something to eat. She would have been pretty darn hungry after delivering Jesus.
Then there is “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rae. Gracious mercy! It is the only song I know that gives a play-by-play of driving in heavy traffic:
I’m driving home for Christmas
Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces
I’m driving home for Christmas, yeah
Well, I’m moving down that line
And it’s been so long
But I will be there . . .
At this point, why is it that the singer “can’t wait to see those faces?” Where has he been? Why the surprise? Was he in jail and just got sprung? Was he in the service and is home on leave? Or is he one of those people that pops up during the Holidays, hoping for a wad of dough-re-me or a stack of presents? There is no clue. Yet, this song goes on with descriptions of heavy traffic:
Top to toe in tailbacks
Oh, I got red lights all around
For a bit of translation from British English to American English, “tailbacks” is a British term for bumper-to-bumper traffic. Honk your horns! The singer judges the guy in the car next to him:
I take a look at the driver next to me
He’s just the same
Just the same.
I still want to know the reason the singer is going to surprise the people at his destination. Is his intention respectable or nefarious?
I prefer the traditional carols with singers who sang with no electronic enhancements. Today’s singers? Well, they yell, holler, and scream. You don’t hear their voices; those “voices” you hear are the artificial creations the sound engineers create, along with the instruments’ sounds.
Right now, Bob Dylan’s version of “Must Be Santa” is playing. It has a polka beat.
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