It’s not Christmas at the Bookworm Room without Josh Groban’s “O Holy Night”

As is the case every year, I have so much for which I am thankful. When my children ask me what I want for Christmas, I never have an answer, because I already have everything I need or want (although they could empty the dishwasher more often). One of the gifts in my life is all of you, so thank you so much for becoming my friends through this site.

Merry Christmas!

Barack Obama: muddle headed multiculturalist

Rogier_van_der_Weyden_009

I may not be Christian, but I know this much about Christmas:  it’s a holy day that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.  I also know that those who believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and mankind’s savior call themselves, not coincidentally, Christians.

See, it’s a package deal:  Christians and Christmas.  Muslims consider Christ a prophet, but do not build their faith around him.  Jews consider Christ a rabbi, but parted ways 2,000 years ago with those of their co-religionists who beheld in him something much greater.  Other world religions don’t even include Jesus in the panoply.  Let me say this again:  Christians and Christmas, the package deal.  While we non-believers enjoy the trees, the ornaments, the songs, and the lights, Christians focus like lasers on Christmas’s raison d’etre.

I mention all of this, in repetitive detail, just to point out how reflexive multiculturalism turns people inanely stupid, including allegedly intelligent and Christian people like Barack Obama (emphasis added):

The First Family helped light the National Christmas Tree Friday night, amid a festive celebration of musicians and costumed characters.

President Obama said Christmas is a time “we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him.”

He also made this statement about Christmas: “It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all.”

Hat tip:  Gateway Pundit

I truly do understand that Obama was trying to make a point about “peace on earth and good will to man,” which is the universalist message that Christians (very nicely, I might add) append to the holiday.  Nevertheless, all that Obama managed to do was to come off sounding . . . dumb.

Still, I am thankful for one thing, which is that Obama’s mindlessly multiculturalist babel gives me the perfect opening to post my favorite Christmas song. I love the song and I love the way Josh Groban sings it:

Another wonderful recording of “O Holy Night”

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol.  In an earlier post, I put up a video of Josh Groban singing it.  Old Buckeye responded with a link to this beautiful rendition by Ernie Ford (whom I always knew just as a funny guest on the I Love Lucy show, and Gordon MacRae, one of my favorite sing movie stars of the late 40s and early 50s.  It’s so lovely, I had to share it with you.

In which I hate on vapid Christmas songs caterwauling for some inchoate “Peace”

I adore traditional Christmas music, whether it’s the Old English Christmas Carols or the non-denominational Christmas songs that began to the music market with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.  I’m as happy singing O Holy Night as I am singing Here Comes Santa Claus.  Christmas songs give me a huge endorphin rush.

There’s one class of Christmas song, though, that just revolts me, and that’s the modern “Peace” genre.  Those vapid paeans to navel-gazing peace leave me cold.

It is true that the old Christmas carols also shared a vision of peace.  Take, for example:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
Gold and sinners reconciled.”

or

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

or

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

Each of these songs envisions peace, but that peace is tied to a formalized religious doctrine that envisions both spiritual and behavioral commitments.  In other words, this peace isn’t cheap.  Jesus Christ made a terribly painful sacrifice to further this peace, and it is each Christian’s obligation to make that sacrifice a meaningful and essential part of his (or her) spiritual life and daily practices.

The modern Christmas peace songs, though, are so horribly banal.  Peace is brought about by vaguely proclaiming that you approve of peace.  John Lennon started it with his bathetic Happy Christmas (War is Over):

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now

I enjoy listening to the pretty melody (John was always good at that), but the words are so insanely stupid:  “Let’s stop all the fight.”  What does that mean?  There’s no guidance there and no belief system.  The whole song is just a muddled assurance that peace will magically happen if we say that it’s a good thing.

I get a snoot-full of these songs every Christmas, because my kids have been in various choral groups.  Last night, I got to hear Rita Abrams’ “All we want for Christmas is peace.”  As with Lennon’s song, it’s got a catchy melody and nice harmonies.  But the lyrics!  This sampling, with due respect for fair use, gives you an idea:

All we want for Christmas is peace,
Peace is all we’re asking for,
All we want for Christmas is peace,
It’s peace we’re hoping for.

There’s more talk of giving and love and dreams, but the song mostly assures the young ‘uns that peace is just something you need to ask for, along with the Malibu Barbi and X-Box already on your Christmas list.

I’m not just engaging in pointless fulminating here.  This notion that “peace happens,” without any commitment or changes on your part, or on the part of those with whom you deal, whether as an individual or a nation, can be toxic.  Just today, Bruce Kesler posted an absolutely splendid rant about the way in which the mindless peace-mongers on the Left open the door for unlimited bias on the part of those who don’t have a pluralistic peace as their goal:

Most of the most prominent in the West who claim to want peace in the Middle East are, instead, prime facilitators of hate.

By disdaining those Muslims who are closer to Western values, instead pandering to Islamist extremists, or one-sidedly denouncing the defensive measures of the only Western oriented nation in the Middle East, Israel, the claimants of upholding peace have consistently encouraged those who believe and act out of hate.

For your pleasure and sanity, please read the rest of Bruce’s rant here.

As for me, I’m spending a little time listening to my favorite Christmas carol: