Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Linger . . . reminisce . . . sip another cup of tea . . . go out of doors to work in the gardens. That would about sum up my free-time endeavors these days. I have not rushed to pack away the Pilgrims and bring on the Nativity scene. In years past I would have had the entire house stripped, dusted, and refashioned for the newest celebratory event; but, this year finds me decidedly tranquil and contemplative. The financial heavings and potential downturns in life have not affected me as they would have in days gone by, nor do the hyped sales and blaring offers stuffing my e-mail box. In short, I feel at peace with just being me in a family free of the binding tethers to the streets of Madison Avenue.

Ah, the sweet sounds of Christmas fill the air as I sit here dreaming of a white Christmas. (I say “dreaming” because it looks like springtime outside now that the leaves have mostly fled. In fact, I even caught a daylily sprouting yesterday under a pile of leaves!) Our first “decoration” of the season comes aloft in music during the Thanksgiving meal when my children clamor to put Nat King Cole on the CD player and dine to his mellow dulcet tones invoking the coming of Christ’s birthday. After all, no list of thanks would be complete without acknowledging the gift of that precious God-child come to save the world. So, once the Thanksgiving dishes have been washed and the leftovers stored we pull out the CD stack and find friends to join Nat in the festival of music we enjoy every day of the Christmas season.

This year we added another multi-disc setup that plays both DVD and CD (ask Gary, I have no idea what it is – only that it holds hundreds, but not nearly enough to satisfy my jukebox demand for our entire music collection). Hence, I pulled out 43 treasured Christmas discs and loaded them in ONCE – yep. They can stay put throughout the year and I will not need to drag them out and plug them in next year. Hooray!! I delightedly arranged the Crooners, the Opera, the Silly, the Beautiful, the Simple, the Traditional, and all the rest into a friendly format. With the dialing of a number I can set the mood for a Renaissance Feast (yes, I even have the obscure hits of the 1500s) or a candlelit romantic dinner for two undergirded by Kenny G’s mellow sax. Choices, choices . . . I love choices.

Around here, we all love Christmas music; so much so that we usually load up a carol-filled album or two in the middle of a heat wave in July and dream of chilly wonders. However, the list of favorites runs the gamut with each favoring something different. Gary would probably choose A Charlie Brown Christmas to take on that proverbial desert island, while Matthew would certainly opt for something with a country twang. (Sorry son, that cheapie version of Amy Grant’s Christmas hits just didn’t make it into the listing this year – such a BAD recording. You’ll have to settle for The Martins or The Gaithers this year.) Elizabeth, Lydia, and Rachel will ALWAYS choose Nat King Cole first but after that the tastes diverge wildly. Nat was the first CD purchased for our collection and he has remained the #1 guy ever since. Andrew preferred Pavarotti over all, but developed a soft spot for Charlotte Church in his teen years (hmmmmmm . . . a prettier opera singer, to be sure).

As for me, I love it all! If I could have but one CD . . . I would CRY!!!! Each year I have a new favorite. This year it seems to be the New England Christmas CD I bought some year ago but only “discovered” this year. Clearly one could deduce I have exceeded a reasonable number of discs; I would be inclined to agree, but will continue enjoying them just the same. So much for the simple creed . . . but at least I acknowledge it and only bought one new disc this year. (PROGRESS?) In any event, I have begun the Christmas transformation on a gentle note of penny whistles and seaside sounds in concert with the “Do You Hear What I Hear?” carol that beckons me to enter the season of the Greatest Gift with thanksgiving in my heart and the childlike wonder of it all sparkling in my eyes.

Today I shall bid adieu to the Pilgrim family and the Mayflower and all the pumpkin-hued d├ęcor and make way for the shining light of Christmas. From the treetop star to the lighted candles in each window, we take joy in guiding the Christ child here as we celebrate His Glorious birth. Aaaaahhhh, Julie Andrews sweetly sings of “The Sounds of Christmas” and I smile as I get up from my comfy chair and join all of you in the wonderful welcome of Christmas.

Come Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest.

* * * * *
We have also a more sure word of prophecy;
Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,
As unto a light that shineth in a dark place,
Until the day dawn,
And the day star arise in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19


Britt-Arnhild said...

I am there listening with you :-) All days now during Advent.

In my advent basket, which I unpack every morning, I always find one Christmas or Advent CD. This means that UI have four Christmas cds up in the livingroom right now. When Christmas Eve comes there will be alot more :-)

CIELO said...

Another favorite: Christmas Lullabies, now at Barnes & Noble... ;)

May you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season...



Michelle said...

I have to agree with you on the Christmas music. I started listening before Thanksgiving and everyone thought I was crazy! :)

Flea said...

:) I just don't get into Christmas the way everyone else does. I like it, I decorate, I bake, I shop for and make gifts. But it's not my favorite holiday. Don't know why. Love the Christmas hymns, though. Silent Night is my favorite year 'round.

LadiesoftheHouse said...

As usual, another eloquent post! Did you see my post where I talked about the internet radio station? You can program it the way you want with the songs you want--no commercials or interruptions whatsoever. I love it and have 3 stations devoted entirely to Christmas music.

Karen Deborah said...

The music and the books you have shared with me have blessed me so much. I love your taste in both as you know and miss those delightful days of biweekly visits.
Nat King Cole is one of my very favorites I love "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot" Made me cry even when I was young. I also like Bone Natale and I'm the Happiest Christmas Tree. I don't have the Cd's I have records! I have my mom's records. Mitch Miller, Perry Como and all kinds of good stuff. I'm right with you on all of this. It's all about JESUS!!

farmlady said...

Lovely post. Stay relaxed during the season. It's about LOVE not material goods.
I love Nat King Cole and Luciano's Silent Night. Those two cd's get me through this beautiful season.

Relax and enjoy the whole month.

Becky said...

I have put away my pilgrims but the only evidence of Christmas is our literal Charlie Brown tree and Christmas coloring pages. Perhaps this weekend... I will have to leave the decorations up through January to make all the work worth it ;-)

imbeingheldhostage said...

I'm with you, I couldn't live without music and that set up you have sounds ideal!!
I LOVE my mother's old Christmas albums and did a frantic search for them last year (found most), and they range from silly to classical.
Lovely post :-)

FancyHorse said...

Oh! I would LOVE to listen to your collection! I love many different genres, too. I have a range from the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos to Alabama (the country singing group).

I HAVE to be listening to the Alabama tape (tape, not CD) while I decorate the tree. It's a tradition!