santa baby at the christmas party hop

I love Christmas. I do. Pretty much everything about it. I will never be a scrooge, though I have toned it down a bit from the years when I decorated every surface of the house, used an actual ladder to hang lights (yeah, never again), and waaaay overbought at the after Christmas 75-percent-off-this-must-have purple-spotted-reindeer sales. Zeal has met pragmatism, and it’s probably a good thing.

But the last couple years have seen me doing something I never did before. Sometimes, I turn off the car radio. I silence the Spotify. Put Pandora in the penalty box. (Adore alliterations.) Because much as I melt at the sound of Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts and fires, if I am expected to rock around one more Christmas tree, I might end up in a whimpering ball under said tree. There—I’ve admitted it. I cannot take the inanity of Christmas songs anymore. Just. Can’t.

And I really do love the music of Christmas. A good orchestral Sleigh Ride will never get old, and Judy Garland will always sound like audible hot chocolate on a cold night. It’s just that, the more I live in this world, the more I understand that everything cannot be solved by a walk in a winter wonderland. Good wishes won’t piece together a heart without peace. A whole lot of peoples’ troubles will not be out of sight today, tomorrow, or in the foreseeable future.

And Santa Baby should definitely consider hurrying down the chimneys of people who have no chimneys because they have no homes that aren’t made of cardboard or tin and bypassing spoiled brats expecting more of the same overvalued symbols of success that clearly are not making them happy. Just stating the obvious here.

I know that at Christmas we’re supposed to suspend our disbelief and embrace the magic, and I’m good with that, a lot of the time. I like magic. I like snowflakes and jingle bells and presents for pretty girls. (Please tell me you get that reference.)

But I can’t completely span that bridge anymore; I’ve seen too much.

Enough to know deeply that the world doesn’t really need a “great big bundle of joy with a big fat pack upon his back.”

And at the precise time when there is an offer of hope on the table so enormous it took a blazing star and a sky full of angels to herald it, we dare to dumb it down with offers of a sentimental feeling that are supposed to suffice.

They don’t.

They don’t, because Christmas should change everything, and we have not let it. We have exchanged words that have the power to sink deep into our souls and change our lives for words that give us a happy feeling. I can’t live with that tradeoff anymore, because I see too many people for whom it is not enough. Too many people who desperately need the real words of Christmas.

Words like

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

Or

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave.

Not to mention

No more let sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

I will still sing Winter Wonderland, and I will still jingle bells. But I want to live Joy to the World. I want to give joy to the world. I want to let those who need it know that the offer is still on the table, and the angels are still singing about it.

Now that it’s over, its time to see which lasts longer—the sentimental feeling, or the victory over the grave.

We need a little (real) Christmas. Now.

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