We sang Christmas music in Sunday school when I was very young. Well past the Christmas season I annoyed song leader insisting we sing Jingle Bells.
Without a doubt one of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. I can’t nail down a favorite Christmas song even though there are several that I could go the rest of my life not hearing. Some of my favorites every year are Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Commin’ to Town and Vanessa Williams’ knock-down gospel version of Go Tell it on the Mountain. I love The Trans Siberian Orchestra and also the parodies by Bob Rivers. Some of my most memorable Christmas seasons were when I was in a choir or musical production at the time or the three years I worked at KNUI Radio.
I have a very early memory of the church organist in Jerome, Arizona playing O Little Town of Bethlehem is a prelude for the Christmas Eve service nearly 40 years ago. One summer Sunday as I sat in bored in church I thumbed through the hymnal and found the section of Christmas music. There were two versions of Hark! The Herald Angles Sing. One was subtitled Eastertide and the other said Mendelssohn. I thought Mendelssohn meant Christmas and didn’t know that the composer Felix shared a name albeit spelled differently with a little girl on the other side of the island what I would marry someday.
I hummed O Little Town of Bethlehem to myself each Sunday and it felt like Christmas. Then when it really was Christmas, that song didn’t take me there. The magic was used up and gone. Now I refuse to listen to Christmas music if it isn’t close enough to Christmas. But when it’s Christmas let the music play. So for just about a month there isn’t such a thing as too much Christmas music. Thanks local radio stations for playing it so much, so far for not playing the Barbara Streisand version of Jingle Bells.