I met Melissa Dixon on the first day of school.
OK. It was my first day of seminary, but it was still the first day of school. We instantly hit it off because we discovered that we grew up just a few miles away from each other. She’s hilarious and has great insight into how people operate. I think you’ll see that shine through in her post.
Like me, Melissa is a seminary drop-out. She’s also a Sunday School teacher to people smarter than her and is mercifully covered by Jesus’ grace. She lives in Johnson City, TN, with her husband, Tim, and her two spoiled cats, Therion and Ollivander. She blogs sporatically at A Place to Land.
Speaking of blogging, she’s actually one of the reasons I started my blog oh so long ago (back when LiveJournal was all the rage). But maybe you shouldn’t hold that against her.
You might recongize her from a guest post on The Tale of Anakin Redeemed, but I’m sure longime readers of my blog probably remember Miss Awissa. She was involved in several of the more memorable stories involving our kids while we lived in Tennessee. Although, after reading this guest post, I’m starting to question if that was such a wise idea. I’m normally not one to criticize a guest poster, but I think it’s safe to say, “You’re a mean one, Miss Awissa…”
I think I can pinpoint the exact moment Christmas music was ruined for me.
Growing up, I attended a church where people were encouraged to sing solos. Some Sundays, we’d have three or four songs before the plate was even passed. Even though it’s not nice to say, it’s honest to say that my church often attracted amateur singers who often rooted themselves smack in the middle of the congregation and sang at least two songs a week, minimum. And even if they didn’t have anything planned (which they always did), the preacher would call on them to sing regardless.
One such a time as this was a day when Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday and a man whose name I will withhold was asked to sing a solo. This was kind of a treat because he was an irregular church attendee, but when he was there, chances were good that he had brought his guitar. He fancied himself a sort of Country Western cowboy, perhaps Gene Autry, playing the guitar as he told a story.
During this particular service, he told a story about being a sidewalk Santa on Christmas Eve, down on his luck and chatting with a sickly orphan boy about what he wanted for Christmas. (Never mind that I am sure this man had never been a sidewalk Santa, and we lived in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn’t a popular job anyway.) At the end of the song, the little orphan boy died at the sidewalk Santa’s feet, and sidewalk Santa told all the other orphan children not to be sad, because the boy was getting the best Christmas present ever- to go home to be with Jesus.
I’m going to give you a minute to let that sink it. The orphan boy died… on Christmas Eve… on the sidewalk at Santa’s feet…
And that’s pretty much when Christmas music was ruined for me. I was already a little disenchanted with commercial Christmas when my neighbors (who happened to be my aunts and uncles) started a Christmas light war that rivaled most professional light displays. I was already starting to suspect that Christmas wasn’t just about good feelings, getting presents, giving presents and the birth of Baby Jesus. It was after that song that I gave myself permission not only to be skeptical about Christmas, but to go ahead and dislike any and every Christmas song that didn’t strike my fancy.
Now that you’re all appalled and worried for my soul, let me assure you that I don’t HATE Christmas music, but I really don’t get all that excited about it either. I already feel like Christmas is getting a little greedy by appearing in stores before Halloween, and then hijacks the radio the day after Thanksgiving and won’t give back regular music until after the holidays. And don’t even get me started on different artists doing the same song over and over again. There are only so many ways you can get creative with “Jingle Bells.” You may love that Christmas album, but to me it only means two words- Cash Cow.
I do have a healthy appreciation of humorous Christmas songs like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”, “Rusty Chevrolet” and “The Restroom Door Said ‘Gentlemen’ “ but as a general rule, I don’t get all misty eyed hearing “Silent Night” over the loudspeaker at the mall. And yes, I do have a heart, and a chorus of children singing “Away in a Manger” does melt it just like Frosty.
But I find some of the songs so absurd. “Mary, Did You Know?” Um, yeah, she kind of had a clue as an angel appeared to her and TOLD her the child was from God. Now she might not have known the outcome, but I bet she was smart enough to know something was going on. No one Decks the Halls with holly anymore now that we have synthetic garland, and the “Carol of the Bells” just makes me want to get ready for my house to get robbed. And, for goodness sake, just tell me what you’re hearing instead of asking everyone else. The night wind can’t even talk.
**In all seriousness, thank you, Melissa-Bob-MissAwissa, for sharing your thoughts. You bring up some pretty good points…especially the one about the boy dying in front of Santa. I think I’m scarred for life now. I still think you’re a Grinch, though. 😉 **