Something unnamed is coming, and the non-religious bird is getting fat

Little Bookworm joined with the school chorus last week to sing in its holiday concert. Interestingly, not a single song in the repertoire had anything to do with Christmas. There was the bland and generic ode to some (unnamed) holiday season, there were lugubrious songs about dark winter’s days and, for reasons unclear, there was a song blatantly endorsing Hannukah.

My suspicion about the latter isn’t that raging Jews put the kibosh on Christmas songs, while simultaneously demanding that their religious celebration be acknowledged. I think what happened was closer to the Sasha Cohen kerfuffle, where she blithely joined in celebrating Christmas, but the multi-culti anti-religious police were scared that any Christian flavor would penetrate the wall separating church from state. As it is, no one’s worried that nods to Judaism will bring about a Jewish religious state any time soon.

I think this is really sad. I adore Christmas carols. I never felt that my public school was endorsing Christianity when I happily caroled away to “Joy to the World.” Even at a young age, I recognized that, in Western culture, men and women often brought their greatest artistic genius to bear when it came to pronouncing their faith in God. I also doubt whether repeat exposure to “Christmas is Coming,” “Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer,” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” is going to put anyone forcibly in mind of Christmas’ religious underpinnings.

As it is, if you’ve got a yen for Christmas music, KOIT radio in San Francisco is playing it non-stop through Christmas. The radio station also has a link at its website so that you can hear the music online.

CORRECTION: I erred. Little Bookworm’s concert included “Feliz Navidad” (a great song), which is probably acceptable because it’s in Spanish, and we know that non-white celebrations of Christmas are acceptable. (And if anyone can find for me a link to a recent story about Democrats being upset that a federal raid on illegal aliens took place on some feast of Mary that is celebrated as a big pre-Christmas holiday in Mexico, I’d appreciate it.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Mrs. Happy Housewife, I now have a link for my claim that a Mexican Christmas song is acceptable, even though a traditional American/European Christmas song is not. In writing about the Fed raids on illegal aliens, here’s the money quotation from a Coloradoan article:

Beyond the ineffective approach, the lack of compassion and humanity in a raid conducted in America’s heartland is appalling. Tuesday’s raid was conducted on Feast Day of Our Lady Guadalupe, a religious holiday that celebrates the beginning of the Christmas season for Mexican Catholics.

The rest of the article is noteworthy for it’s pathetic criminal viewpoint. | digg it

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  • ymarsakar

    There is nothing wrong with government endorsing religion, the alternative is after all government restricting religion and making laws against religion. The active use of government power or fear of government power or law suits through the bowels of the government, is far from protecting religion from government interference. How things should work is that the government leaves religious institutions alone, and in return religious institutions don’t persecute members of different faith, creating a voting block that can vote in laws that are straight out of religious edicts of the ruling faction. The government gets to function and make laws and not have to worry about a religious cabal or influence, the religions get to practice their faith without fear from the government or from each other. It has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, up until the Supreme Court started believing that the government needed more power. Some people and institutions don’t want to give up their power, and so when you enlarge and empower the government, the government starts stepping over people. Laws against religious practice and laws confiscating people’s homes based upon judicial and legislative feat, are simply two examples of a great waterfall of incidences.

    Christianity and other religions have little power against me. The Jehova’s Witnesses are interesting conversationalists and polite, warm and friendly, and even though I am not a believer, religion has no power to make me believe. Which is just how I want it. The government, that is a different story. They have the power to compel me to obey, as they compelled folks out of their homes. The people talking about maintaining this so called balance between church and state, separating church and state so that all benefit, gave away their con game a long time ago.

  • helenl
  • ymarsakar

    I’m sure there is a connection between Arnold and driver’s licenses in California, with Christianity and Christmas. Where is it though?

  • Mrs. Happy Housewife

    This op from “The Coloradoan” has plenty of Democrat boo-hooing about that raid (which took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe):

  • Bookworm

    That’s it! That’s what I was talking about, Mrs. HH. Thank you.

  • ymarsakar

    Bookworm has many elfy helpers, it seems.

    It is fitting for someone who brings the newness of the dawn to so many.

    What is the essence of the dawn to me? I can’t say, it is quite manifold. A smile, a light hearted laugh, a chance to look upon the sublime beauty of nature and humanity, a glimpse into contentment and peace of mind. There are many.

  • expat

    I have worked in various places where there were many Jews. My memories of those times are that the Jews volunteered to work over Christmas so that Christians could be with their families. I have always treasured the graciousness and thoughtfulness they showed. I also appreciated that they told me about their own religious traditions when they took vacation days for their holidays. But the most important thing of all was that aside from holiday days off, there were really no Jews and Christians. There were close friends, pleasant coworkers, and jerks with a pretty equal distribution among any religious or ethnic grouping one chose to define. How did we descend into the current idiocy?

  • Bookworm

    I’m with you, Expat. I’ve been self-employed for a very long time, so am out of the office loop. I know, though, that I was always delighted to work holidays, both because it helped my co-workers out and (selfishly) because the empty office was a really great, non-distracting work environment. I have never, never, never known a Jewish person who took offense at Christmas celebrations, although I may travel in very limited circles. As it is, a lot of the Jews I knew growing up were Holocaust survivors and refugees, who were delighted at being asked to share a holiday, rather than being hunted and killed for their beliefs and ethnicity.

  • ymarsakar

    When the bonds of community die down, expat, humans seek to substitute it with some other category. Religion, race, wars, nationalities, are simply meat for the grist.

    Because it is unnatural, because it is artificial, these constructions and delineations, it will not work as neatly and naturally as the god given bonds of man. The Band of Brothers bond, the bond of family and blood, the bond of communities against outside threats and for common survival. These are natural bonds, bonds of divinity even.

    Artificial bonds are not as strong nor as pure.

  • judyrose

    1. Christmas was always a favorite time for us (Jewish kids) who could hardly wait until the Italian and Irish neighbors invited us in to help them decorate their Christmas trees. Everyone can appreciate the beauty of Christmas lights, family gatherings, and the joyous spirit that fills the hearts of people during this season. You don

  • ymarsakar

    I love Christmas carols. Out of all religious music, I love Christmas carols the best. They are simply so pristine and crystalline in its purity of content and sound. Icily chilling as snow, yet beautifully harsh and wonderful as well. A weird, weird, dichotomy that never gets old or tired.

    Compare this with the Gregorian chant, and those monks were missing 3 quarters of the fun I say.

  • judyrose

    But Gregorian Chant was really something in its day, and can be hauntingly beautiful too.

  • ymarsakar

    It does have that haunting quality, the erie(ness) of an empty and shaking house. It lacks the energy, the drive, the personal application of willpower, in my view. Meaning, I can use music to deaden pain, through a sort of self-hypnosis, getting the second wind so to speak. But it requires energetic music, a music that hits the soul and reinforces it.

    I don’t think I can do that with Gregorian chant. Maybe because I haven’t heard all of it, but still.

  • judyrose

    You’re right. I wouldn’t choose Gregorian Chant for that purpose either. Try Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, especially the last movement. Perfection!

  • judyrose

    Meanwhile, does anybody know what’s happening to music study on campuses these days?

  • Patrick O’Hannigan

    The article in the Coloradoan isn’t big on nuance, but I sometimes am, and as a man of Irish-Mexican extraction I can say confidently that while Dec. 12 may mark the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season for Mexican Catholics, as a religious holiday what it actually celebrates is the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego on a hill northwest of present-day Mexico City in the year 1531. She offered several proofs for him to take to the properly skeptical bishop, among them her image imprinted supernaturally on his tilma (a sort of cloak) and an armload of perfect roses at a time and place where no roses usually grow.

  • Bookworm

    It sounds like a lovely, indeed charming, holiday, Patrick. It’s just rather silly for the Coloradoan to use this as a touchpoint for suddenly taking religious umbrage at a strung operation carried out against illegal aliens.

  • jg

    judyrose asks:
    “Meanwhile, does anybody know what

  • judyrose

    jg, thanks for that information. I’m mainly thinking of the public colleges, state or city institutions such as University of Michigan or Brooklyn College. There shouldn’t be any pc problem in a Lutheran school. But I think back on the music we studied and performed when I attended Brooklyn College in the 1960s. Much of it was written for the Catholic mass. To eliminate it from the curriculum would leave a gaping hole that, in my opinion, would render a music degree meaningless. Even as a Jewish kid, I knew the text of the mass by heart in Latin, German, and English. (I knew it better than a lot of my Catholic friends.) As an added benefit, it was like a Rosetta Stone for me, and extremely important in my overall understanding of the relationships between languages. (I know it was instrumental in making me a good crossword puzzle solver.) This seems like a digression, but those ancient texts, which I’m fearing raise such a ruckus these days, taught me many things far beyond the realm of religious doctrine. And the music, oh, the music was so beautiful. At that time, it was the most important thing in my life. I would hate to think that current and future generations of public university music majors are going to miss out on all of that.

    As for carols, I agree that the oldest ones are the best. I do love some of the Christmas songs that have been written in recent decades. They’re not carols, but songs like “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…, by Mel Torme), and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” are very good music, indeed.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of Renee Fleming. I first saw her singing the role of the Countess in a televised performance of The Marriage of Figaro. I know first hand (voice major) how difficult those arias are to sing, and her performance was flawless. Wow, I was so impressed.

  • jg

    Thanks, judyrose. You were so very fortunate.

    Yes, there might be a PC problem at St. Olaf’s. It’s Lutheran and in Minnesota, which usually mean liberal politics (I’m guessing).
    Actually, not really, since St. Olaf’s is a choral school and the love is for the music. The Lutheran choral tradition is profound. (Bach!) If they can just get past the contemporary and back to the ageless masterpieces.

    I have delved a bit into English and German cathedral music, so I agree about the beauty of the music from the Lutheran and Roman churches.