The Music of Christmas
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, one of the most special parts of the season is its music. What would Christmas be without songs like "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "The First Noel"?
As I listen to my music service's Christmas station, I am amazed at the almost endless variety of arrangements of Christmas songs that are played. Most artists at some point in their careers record a Christmas album, which means it is possible to hear the same Christmas song being sung by artists as diverse as Carrie Underwood, Andrea Bocelli, Bob Dylan, Katie Perry, the Cambridge Singers, Alvin and Chipmunks, and several hundred others. Depending on our tastes we may feel like a particular arrangement is the perfect one, or we may be wondering whoever thought a particular arrangement was a good idea.
There are, of course, no "right" or "wrong" arrangements of Christmas carols, as it is all a matter of taste. For many of us, the arrangements we prefer today may be very different from what we preferred when we were younger because we have changed over the years. The words, however, are timeless and it is those words that are ultimately the most important part of Christmas carols.
Just as there is no one "right" way to arrange Christmas music, there is also no "right" way to arrange our holiday gatherings with friends and family. In fact, just as our taste in music changes over time, we will also find that our gatherings with friends and family will change as well.
The essence of Christmas remains constant year after year, as it is the telling of the story of the "Word made flesh," how we bring those words to life is always changing, however. Allow yourself to be flexible and creative in your options. Maybe this is the year to write some "new music" as you gather with friends and family. Maybe the music will be quiet and more reflective this year, or perhaps it will be bolder and more up-tempo. Perhaps it will be sad music because we are grieving a loss or joyful because of a new face in the crowd. Perhaps there will be more voices singing along this year, perhaps there will be fewer. While the music is always changing, our comfort is found in the fact the words and the message of Christmas are changeless.
I don't know about you, but I need to remember to avoid the mistake of trying to make music from another time fit the present moment. Living and loving the present moment, whatever it may hold, can be one of the greatest Christmas gifts that we can give to ourselves and others.
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