Our thirteen-month-old grand daughter brought a smile to us Sunday morning. Apparently, she has learned to command “Alexa” to play. “Alexa” is a modern invention of Amazon to do jobs around the house from turning on lights to monitoring entrances to homes and notifying homeowners. So, when Delsie commanded Alexa, Alexa began Christmas carols in our grand daughter’s bedroom. Her parents were surprised to wake to carols coming from Delsie’s bedroom.
In our household, we have a tradition of playing Christmas music as we decorate our tree and put up our household decorations for the season. The music helps us get into the Christmas spirit. It is up lifting.
I think back to my youth as we began practicing Christmas music for our traditional school and Sunday School pageants. Most songs as I grew up were more religious in nature which today in schools would be frowned on. But as I write this column today, I am humming along with the music coming from Alexa in our home and mouthing the words to many of those old tunes. There are many more on Alexa that are currant pop-rock in nature that I don’t recognize.
Perhaps the most widely sung Christmas Carole is “Silent Night”. “Stille Nacht” was first performed in a tiny church in Oberndorf, Germany in 1818. It was shortly after the Napoleonic wars and there was famine in much of the country when the song was written and first performed. One must wonder how a song written 200 years ago can still seem so relevant and touching today.
After two hundred years, it might be the most sung Christmas hymn on Christmas eve in services throughout the world. There are many more traditional Christmas hymns that we sing. “Joy to the World”, “O little town of Bethlehem”, “Hark the Herald Angels sing”, “O Come all ye Faithful” and countless more that make up our repertoire of music. But they have been joined by many more that we have learned as we move in and out of stores.
For the staffs of many of those stores, the six weeks of Christmas music playing in the background may seem tiring, but for shoppers, the music remains uplifting and cheerful. I can date myself by remembering and enjoying Gene Autry sing “Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer” and “Here comes Santa Claus”. The last song popped up on the Christmas Channel on the radio and listening to the words I would have thought that Autry pronounced Santa as “Santy”.
Songs keep returning in every Christmas season with new artists recording the traditional with new. What is old seems suddenly new and welcoming again. It is all part of our culture that we embrace every December.