Growing up I loved Christmas music – when I was a churchgoer the music was the marker of a true holy-day – we sang in special programs and in the worship services, and the music resonated with me deeply. But sometime after I stopped being a believer, the whole season took on an air of commerciality that I just did not (and still don’t) relate to or appreciate. The idea of buying gifts for people we love is a fine one, but this year it was moments after Halloween and the music and the special aisles at the supermarket started up. When all I related the music to was crowded aisles and frigid weather it became difficult to appreciate.
But the past three years or so I’m getting back in the spirit. I’m becoming slightly less curmudgeonly about most things as I age, and I’m not the scrooge I used to be. The Christmas story is a difficult one for me, but taken at a simple face value – an eternal being coming to solve all of humanity’s problems, well, in an unanalyzed way that’s awfully sweet. And Christmas is now, for me, a time to spend with family. I do admit to wishing it were not so often hurriedly arranged around gift exchanges, but we do all make family a priority at Christmas.
Last year we did some caroling around Mom’s piano. A couple of nieces played, as did my sister, and we all sang along. We sang my old favorite, which for as long as I can remember has been “Oh, Holy Night.” I love the drama – the highs and lows, “Fall on your knees. Hear the angel voices. Oh night, divine! Oh night, when Christ was born.” The song has a haunting beauty that aptly conveys the magic that would have been that night in Bethlehem.
A couple of weeks ago my teacher asked me if I wanted to learn any Christmas music. I said no, let’s stick to Suzuki.
Thanks for reading.