As I write this, Luciano Pavarotti’s magnificent voice is rising through the lyrics (in Italian) of O Holy Night, which is the #1 Christmas carol in Colorado. I happen to be in Spokane, but this is technology. National Public Radio for the last ten years has run the Top Fifty Favorite Christmas Carols, and I have been wrapping gifts to the music.
Each time I come to Spokane, my friend Jill and I do our shopping with the local FM station tuned to all Christmas music. We’ve both gotten annoyed with how those stations have ceased playing what’s considered sacred music, out of fear of offending (somebody, anybody, everybody). As a result, they end up being offensive by removing from the mainstream some of the best music of the entire season.
I mean, look, if you’re going to pummel me with Christmas music beginning right after Halloween, AT LEAST broaden the variety.
Look. I’m no Christian. But I grew up, as many of us did, with these songs, and they lift my heart and my spirits in ways that only sacred music can. I can be just as uplifted by songs from other religions and belief systems. I don’t have to ascribe to a certain belief to be able to be deeply touched by devotionals, because those songs speak to passionately-held beliefs. They remind me of man’s search for what is above and beyond him. For example, I have always, and will always be taken to the moon with the chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
Besides, if I happen to be listening when I’m on my stationary bike, it makes me sprint. So it’s pretty useful for burning off all those cookies.
I am, however, offended when others decide for me and everyone else what’s acceptable on the airways and what’s not, out of fear of offending this or that group. Don’t like it? Then bloody well don’t listen. Get over it already.
Because here’s what’s happened: by taking out what are arguably some of the most lovely of the traditional Christmas songs, we are subjected to hearing Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree three or four times an hour. Or more. Because, frankly, the best of the season’s music is indeed…