First off, if you love Christmas carols, I apologize already, and also issue this disclaimer: I love a few of them too, especially “White Christmas,” anything Bobby McFerrin-ized, or of course that great John Lennon song. If you love hearing Christmas carols 24/7, I support you — truly — but with the caveat that such a passion is akin to my passion for show tunes or all-Bruce-all-the-time. I love hearing the score to “Carousel” while cleaning the house or “Westside Story” while driving from here to Topeka, but I have found that most of my loved ones don’t exactly share this passion. Actually, they tend to look for sharp objects when I turn up Gordon McCray or hit the button to replay “Darkness at the Edge of Town.”
So when I turned on the radio today, I was trying to open my little heart a bit to the wonders of Christmas carols, especially since that song “In excelsis deo” was playing. I was reminiscing to my kids about how we used to sing the chorus as “Sooooooooooooooooooolar Power! In..ex…pen…sive…energy!” I told them how we used to sing the one where “shepherds watch this flocks at night” with the words “shepherds wash their socks at night.” But I digress.
The Christmas carol morphed into another one, something about Christmas time in the morning, and eventually, in my numbed-out state, I heard, “Mom…..Mom…..Mom…..” until I paid attention enough to answer. “That song is making me die inside,” Daniel said, and I snapped out of my carol stupor and put on Etta James.
This is all to say that Christmas carols can be great, but this week, they’re everywhere: radio channels, stores, and in between places. How would life be if, everywhere I went, someone was belting out show tunes. Would it get old after awhile, or would life just be continually coming up roses? Or what about Springsteen songs 24/7? Would it work for us as a culture, or would we all be especially born to run?