Friday, December 9, 2011

The Good Kind of Christmas Noise

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My girls discovered Christmas music this year. I mean, we've always played Christmas music in December (and sometimes in October and November too), but this year they're the ones who keep turning it on every eight seconds. I think it takes me about three days of constant Christmas music submersion before all the songs begin to bleed together into one continuous, not altogether unpleasant background noise. The other day as I was driving I found myself humming a song my girls keep re-playing, and the very fact that I knew all the lyrics surprised me since Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer isn't at the top of my list of songs to memorize or listen to eight hundred times in one week. 

But it got me thinking about how I tend to tune out the music in the same way I frequently stop hearing the omnipresent chatter of little girls talking at me all day long. Like I said, after a while it becomes one continuous, not altogether unpleasant background noise and frankly I don't think I'd recognize my life without it. But yesterday I was driving along lost in thought as the Barenaked Ladies sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and I suddenly felt wide awake; I heard what they were saying and understood what they meant. Let nothing you dismay. I paused the music and repeated the line to myself. Let nothing you dismay. Maybe a good thing for me to hear this week. It's just one line, one little morsel of holiday cheer that I'd never before heard in a way that caused me to take it to heart. I wondered what other Christmasy thoughts I was missing. So, today I spent some time listening on purpose. This is what I heard: 

Long lay the world in sin and error pining- I played my best for Him- All is calm, all is bright- Be good for goodness sake-It's grand just holding your hand-Everyone telling you 'be of good cheer'- The fire is so delightful-My world is changing I'm rearranging- The silent Word is pleading- you'll never more roam- Oh joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes- So this is Christmas and what have you done?- No crying he makes- We've been good but we can't last- You have garlic in your soul, Mr Grinch- The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord

Listening to the music with fresh ears was a lot of fun. It made me wonder which lyrics you might hear loud and clear, were you to spend some time listening hard and keeping track. The experience of the lyrics must be very different for each of us, but I think it's good to settle into your elbows and take it in once in a while. It helps get the Grinch out, at least for me. My oldest daughter told me tonight that I practically ruined Christmas season for her today. Well. It is grievous when one's mother won't let her stay up late to watch television on a school night. I can see how that might crush the Christmas spirit in our home. But maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to spend some time listening to the poetry of Christmas music, re-setting my thoughts and calming the edges of the holiday chaos. 

Some of my best, most sacred holiday memories are wrapped up in the music. My mom used to parade my sisters and I around to the neighbors like Von Trapp wanna be's! It was so embarrassing, but now that I have a house full of little girls I must confess I make them sing like trained parakeets. The other morning I was trying to snooze for a few minutes and all three girls were climbing all over me, rudely yanking back my covers. So, naturally I insisted they sing "The First Noel" before I'd get up. I suspect the neighbors could hear their very loud, very silly rendition of my all-time favorite Christmas carol and by no coincidence that morning was one of the happiest, light hearted get-everybody-out-the-door-on-time days this month. 

You can listen, you can hum along, you can sing and you can try to make your kids sing. My point it that there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's (which happens to be true) and there's no wrong way to get the good kind of Christmas noise into your home and your heart!


  1. Lauren! I love it when you stop by my blog. :)

    The music of Christmas is what makes the holiday come alive for me. Singing Christmas carols is one of my favorite Christmas past times.

    I wish we had some snow here...

  2. it's totally true that the lyrics all blend together. i love that you sorted them out for me and i'm certain i will listen more closely the rest of the season :)

  3. Elisabeth loves "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" so much but not for the reason one might think. She is a devoted fan of eggnog and whenever she hears the line about grandma drinking to much eggnog she shrieks with laughter. I guess it's good she's making connections between music and her own life...


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