Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Advent Not Christmas (Day 11): If you're not simply having a wonderful Christmas time, at least you're not hauling frozen ropes...right?

If the moving finger writes, and having writ moves on, to quote Omar Khayyam and Rudolph's Shiny New Year...sometimes it's a GOOD thing that we can't bring back the past.  Because some of it, we wouldn't want to.

Like sitting in your great-aunt's living room, opening Christmas presents, wearing a big horizontal-striped top (with a boatneck, natch), accessorized with big hair and braces.  Some of that 1982ishness, we don't need to bring back.

Or a holiday season that, for whatever reason, was really bad.  Really lonely, really scary, or really hopeless. Maybe by the next year things were better, but that particular December--no, that's not the kind people write songs about.

Or maybe they do.  Starting with Elvis and Blue Christmas...moving through whatever teary song is playing on the country station or even the Christian station (can you say Christmas Shoes?), through the depressing lyrics of John Lennon ("So this is Christmas, and what have you done?, another year over...") and Band-Aid ("Do they know it's Christmas?").  I have to tell you, a whole lot of years ago I was in a very small music group, and we wrote our own Christmas song, about lonely people needing love.  For a long time afterwards I was kind of embarrassed even to remember that song, thinking it was pretty maudlin and wasn't very good...but considering some of the stuff I've heard on all-Christmas radio, it probably could have held its own.

But anyway, if you want to cheer up and think about all the ways that your December holidays--past or present--could be really need to listen to Sting's version of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Christmas at Sea."  A sample of the lyrics:

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

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