Actually, it was 16 nights.
Happens every year around Christmas time.
There’s no predicting it. No anticipating it.
There’s no planning involved. Imagine that! The uber-stressful season sans the exhausting list of Must-Dos, Must-Gets and Must Not-Forgets! Why, it’s almost sacrilegious!
It’s the Song of the Season. Specifically, my song.
Not really my song. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.
Let it be said that I don’t do Christmas. Not Commercially, that is. And yes, that capital C is intended.
The religious elements, also dare I say, are pretty meaningless for me.
Neither do I neglect the holiday altogether, however. I make my own cards and have for years.
They’re even put into envelopes, stamped and mailed to a dozen or so recipients.
I don’t do Christmas cards en masse any more than I live my life en masse. I’m an individualist. The whole power in groups thing, well, let’s just say I didn’t get that gene.
I also pen a “newsletter” — and believe me when I say that it ain’t nuthin’ like the one you get from Aunt June about how Tommy’s 8 now and the basketball team’s starter and how Gretchen’s entering her senior year. Stuff that’ll cure any insomnia’s unrest for a night!
I’ll admit that one year I aspire to author just such a letter: as a parody!
I generally give just one gift to one person, my son. Homemade from the kitchen.
So go on, call me horribly terribly old-fashioned and un-American because I keep Christmas from the heart, not the shops. Go on, I’m not offended.
What I am is a whole lot less fucking stressed-out than the average American consumed by Christmas consumerism! Sad.
Anyhow, back to The Song of the Season.
I never know when it’ll strike. Descend, rather — for the song really does come upon me. A shower of grace from heaven above.
It’s a piece of music that touches me deeply, moves me extraordinarily and usually to tears. It’s a song or a carol that I can’t get enough of.
Every year it’s different.
And my heart knows it when it hears it.
Like I said, I never go looking for it. In fact, I give it no thought. It happens in its time. Like wind across the sea.
Like one year, I couldn’t get enough of “Little Drummer Boy.” Now, I happen to LOVE that song every holiday. But that year, I couldn’t get enough of it. I hungered for it, thirsted for it, satiated my self within it and even still, every listening was as remarkable as the first.
Even went to the library and checked out a buncha CDs with that song on it just so I could listen in my car and at home.
Some versions are better than others. Those CDs didn’t make the cut far as Little Drummer Boy was involved.
Another year, it was “O Holy Night.”
Only explanation for this mysterious bonding with one song and only one song that changes every Christmas is that there’s something in the lyrics and musical movement that resonate with my unconscious.
In fact, reflecting on where my life, and I in it, were when O Holy Night was the Song of the Season, I fully understand why it jumped out at me so.
Why it chose me. Not the other way around.
Yesterday evening the Song of this Season was revealed. The “Hallelujah.” From Handel’s Messiah.
Not the Leonard Cohen version, which I happen to love to death. Different tune, different time.
Like I mentioned, the seasonal song stirs me profoundly, usually to tears.
Like the national anthem. I can’t help it — or myself. Unless there’s some lame person singing it all wrong — like some dumb pop star at the start of the Superbowl. Boring. The rendition, not the game.
So in a sense, my Christmas song is my national anthem. An anthem with a shelf life of a month or so.
When the song is spontaneously delivered unto me from the forces above — the higher beings, the angels, Spirit, the Universe, the Creator, God or however you choose to conceptualize that which is greater and bigger than we mortals — Christmas c’est arrivé.
No cranky crowds.
No credit cards.
Just the gift of music. Clear. Calm. Consecrated.
Were that Christmas could be that pure and true for all.