another Christmas

by humanmama on January 17, 2010

Hello there, and goodbye Christmas. We put the decorations away last week, and except for the occasional pine-scented candle that keeps turning up here and there, we’re done with the whole thing. Every year I so look forward to Christmas, and every year when I’m putting everything away I think, “ahhh, thank GOD that’s over….” I’m not sure why Christmas does this to people.

Another thing to be thankful for is that with the passing of Christmas also goes the passing of several other things. Like the Christmas music on the radio. Thanksgiving every year we look forward to it; by new year’s eve we are all thinking, ENOUGH! So I have a few comments on the Christmas songs out there that I figured I’d wait to publish until after Christmas. Just in case you were offended… hehe.

What’s the deal with the Christmas music? I mean, there are really, really lovely things in there. Peace on earth, as we all know, is Obama-ist propaganda; left-wing and hopelessly naive, not to mention probably having something to do with peacefully negotiating with terrorists. What a hippie. But the other sentiments are pretty nice. Joy to the world, for instance. A great thought. But embedded in some songs are some things I just don’t GET.

How about “Away in a Manger,” one of my favorites. “The cattle are lowing/the poor baby wakes/ but little Lord Jesus/no crying He makes?” I don’t think so, Mary laughs to herself, recalling the tender little one as she re-swaddled him in some sort of, we imagine, cheesecloth. I myself literally crept out the door at a snail’s pace when Helena was born, hoping not to step on a creaky part of the floor to wake her up. But cattle “lowing” are not bothering anyone? Have you ever heard a cow moo from up close?

I like to think of Mary a lot at Christmastime. When I’m thinking of the whole “Jesus was born” thing, I think that even a total atheist must have some sympathy for Mary. She’s pretty human–when chosen to give birth, she says “Um, yeah, but how can that be since I’m a virgin??!” Or at least, that’s the New-AJ-Version (NAV) of the Bible as I know it. I imagine that that’s pretty much how the next year or two went, too, like, “oh geez, who’s at the door now. Who? You’re from where, you say, Sir? Well, that’s fine, but what the hell is frankincense?”

Any mother who has had any newborn knows damn well that there isn’t a moment’s rest at the beginning. So “Holy infant so tender and mild” is pretty much a joke. I don’t care how holy, I’m sure Christ’s poop was messy and his newborn temperament was not as mild as the tales tell. I love to imagine Mary, present-day, listening to the radio in wonder as she recalls the winter of ’00-01 AD, when she gave birth. It was not that cold, in fact, probably not the middle of the winter. Dr. Henry M. Morris author of The Defender’s Study Bible (notes for Luke 2:8,13), mentions that:

  • A more probable time [for the birth of Christ] would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Thus, it is rather commonly believed (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September.

September in Jerusalem is typically about 80 degrees nowadays. So, even adding in a little “climate change,” it was still probably pretty warm. Even so, if it was cold and there were some local magi wandering over, do you think that “A child, a child/ Shivers in the cold/ Let us bring him silver and gold” would be an appropriate response? Mary is now shaking her head, nudging the modern-day Joseph and saying “remember when those kings brought us silver and gold, when what we really needed was a few frickin’ fleece blankets? They were worse than your mother!” (a brief fight takes place among Mary and Joseph).

The best, the very best of the Christmas songs to pick on, and the cutest too, is the Little Drummer Boy. I love the song. I do. But I am telling you people, no matter how holy and peaceful and loving that night was, and no matter how gracious Mary was (no mention of afterbirth or epidurals here, people…), no mother of a newborn would respond to a little boy “yes, I know you don’t have a present, so please PLAY YOUR DRUM for my NEWBORN BABY.” I’m just telling you. Joseph’s got his hand on the boy’s shoulder, and is whispering, “Listen son, Mary’s full of hormones right now, so she’s not really in the best mood, and she’s trying to get Christ to get a good latch…now’s really not the best time…” And, also, can someone explain how exactly the Ox and Lamb will keep time while he bangs away on a drum? Like, by bleating, or by kicking a clay pot or something? “Come, they told me, ‘baa baa baa baa baaaa??'”

Still, the best part of Christmas is never put in a box at our house and put away, and that’s the feeling of warmth and togetherness (for better or worse, Ox and Lamb or not). And even though it’s January, and even though there’s still so much more winter until Springtime comes, we don’t forget the togetherness. Not at all. Days and days of being together. In fact, we savor this time. The time when everyone goes back to school and work. Ahh, Christmas.

Happy New Year!

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Jessica January 21, 2010 at 7:22 pm

That was freaking hilarious! I will never listen to "Away in the Manger" the same way again. : )

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