I listen to song lyrics closely. Sometimes too closely. With the Christmas season in full swing, I am once again bombarded with all of the typical seasonal song titles. Some of these lyrics leave me scratching my head. For instance: We Wish You a Merry Christmas. This is a happy little song. I can picture carolers walking up my driveway singing in perfect harmony with all the good tidings that their heart can muster. It’s a beautiful scene, right up until the point where they start their demands for Figgy Pudding.
“Oh, bring us some figgy pudding.” “We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here.”
It’s takes a kind of creepy turn. Suddenly I’m backed into my house with an ugly fear in my gut. I don’t even have any figgy pudding. And they aren’t leaving. After hours of them singing and demanding and getting more aggressive, I’m forced to serve up some Jell-O pudding—hoping that it will serve as a good substitute. What started as a happy little Christmas song has turned into a group exercise in extortion.
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly is a lovely song spreading cheer and joy. A “bough” is a tree branch. So this song basically promotes deforestation. And who decorates the hallway anyways? And the stockings were hung down the hall just outside of the half bath with care. Yeah, I don’t think so. I also have another theory about this song. I think the writer of this song scribbled this one out and was struggling with the overall length of the rough draft. “It’s too short. What to do? Maybe I’ll just jam in some Fa-La-La’s between each line. Yeah, that will double the length of the song. Perfect!”
“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” No, I am not. While you’re busy dreaming of falling snow, I’m dreaming of global warming and how nice it will be not to have to shovel my driveway ever again. Ever. Cincinnati could be the new Florida, with less sink holes.
How about “I’ll be home for Christmas”? Listen carefully here. He says that he’ll be home for Christmas. He promises it many verses over and over. He even adds “You can count on me.” And then he hits you with “If only in my dreams.” Really? Is that how you justify your ugly broken promises? As if dreaming about doing what you say makes it acceptable.
“I’ll do the trash and empty the dishwasher. If only in my dreams. There, all done and off of the hook!”
“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” I’ll be honest with you about this one. I don’t really know any more of the lyrics to this song. Although I usually hear every word of almost every song, this one leaves me confused after just one line and then I just stop listening. It came upon the midnight clear? The what? What is a midnight clear? I know that midnight is the time between the PM and the AM. I get that part. I know that “clear” is typically an adjective implying that you can see through the object. But a midnight clear? This makes no sense to me. Are we trying to describe the weather pattern of this particular night? It was a clear night, specifically at exactly midnight—and that is when it came. Perhaps I would know what “it” was if I could get past this opening line.
I have a thought about the song Silent Night. I’m willing to bet everything that I own that this song was written before The Little Drummer Boy. Everything on that holy night was amazing, serene, and beautiful—little baby Jesus, the savior of our world resting easy, new mother Mary finally getting a good night’s sleep after carrying the savior in her belly for nine months, Joseph squeezing in a quiet round of poker with the three wise men. Joseph whispers to avoid waking the Savior, “I’ll see your one Frankincense and raise you two Myrrh.”
Everything was perfect! Perfect that is, until that little poor boy showed up and started banging away on his homemade drum. “I’ll play my drum for him. A bang, bang, bang.” Baby Jesus starts wailing. Mary wakes with a start. The poker table flips over. The ox and lamb start a stampede. The manger collapses.
Yeah, the silent night occurred long before that little drummer boy showed up.