I am old enough to remember records being played in my house while growing up. Tapes made their appearance during my childhood, but in my household, records were played on our big family stereo. I remember every December, my parents would pull out the special box of Christmas music. I vaguely remember a cartoon-like snowman across the cover of one and maybe a nutcracker emblazoned across another. The album art may not be set in my memory, but the songs that played certainly were.
I love Christmas music. My husband is not fond of the fact that I could listen to it 24/7 once Thanksgiving is over, but I spare him and try to do it when he’s not around. I could probably sing you any and every Christmas song ever written. Even the obscure verses that most people don’t know. It’s a gift, really.
Sacred Christmas songs never get old and have always seemed worshipful. I don’t know if it’s the timeless melodies or the stories behind them. I think a lot has to do with those old records that my parents pulled out and dusted off every year. They were special, sacred, and saved for once a year. I have fond memories of the fuzzy, clicking tracks on the records as they played throughout the final month of the year. I remember being intrigued by songs like Old King Wenceslas and Good Christian Men Rejoice. (I also remember being surprised in middle school to discover that Sleigh Ride had words. For years, the only version I heard was the instrumental as my sister and I galloped across the living room on our imaginary horses.)
Whatever the reason, if I hear O Little Town of Bethlehem or O Holy Night, I feel at peace. The words have depth, mystery, and they pull me in every time (well, unless it’s Mariah Carey singing them. Then I can’t change the channel fast enough.)
During Christmas, I love to hear pipe organs and orchestras pounding out the melodies and chords of these familiar songs. I do love rock bands, but during Christmas, the classical music snob in me comes out. It feels more sacred and “holy” for some reason.
I love the story of Christmas and how it’s been captured by so many songwriters throughout the years. It’s priceless.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m thankful that something that has been so special to me for so many years is still special. I’ve become jaded about a lot, but I don’t feel overly cynical or judgmental when I hear Christmas songs. That’s really refreshing for me. They simply make me smile, and for that I’m grateful.
Question: Is there a special song (Christmas or not) that has remained special to you throughout the years?