Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's the deal with Christmas carols?

My mom officially broke out the Christmas music today, even though I told her it was too early. I was listening to some random Starbucks Christmas cd that was playing in the kitchen while I made an apple pie, trying really hard to pretend the happy, repetitive songs weren't actually Christmas songs. Yeah, that didn't work so well.
So I gave up trying to ignore it and then I started thinking about the songs I was hearing. Like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Which is possibly the worst Christmas song ever.
'Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say, "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" Then all the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!"'
And we wonder why our society only likes the cool, popular people. If it's okay for reindeer, it must be okay for us too!! Never mind going against the flow and being individualistic; it's all about being in the 'in' crowd. Which you aren't if you're weird. Unless you do something really awesome like guide Santa's sleigh through the fog.
And then there's the whole 'you better watch out, you better not cry' song that seems to me to be a ploy to threaten kids into submission ('he sees you when you're slepping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if youv'e been bad or good so be good for goodness sake')because Santa is stalking them. Okay, yea-- no wait, back up. Santa is a stalker?!? And this is the person every little kid believes in at one point or another? And he brings them presents and toys and candy...hang on. Isn't that a little bit like taking candy from a stranger? Which is what parents generally tell kids NOT to do? And he's purported to come down the chimney. Umm...breaking and entering much? I think Santa needs to be arrested. He's creeping me out.
And whoever decided to call him Santa anyway? That means saint in Spanish. So...shouldn't Santa be some sort of Hispanic then? And shouldn't he be saintly and non-stalkerish?
Then you have songs about magical snowmen and partridges and hippopotamuses and front teeth. These would appear to be newer songs competing against the old the ones that present the beginning of the gospel message. Hmm...I wonder why all these materialistic, ridiculous, catchy songs are being entirely overplayed while songs like 'What Child Is This?' and 'O Holy Night' are passed over. And yet at the same time so many secular artists have recorded traditional carols. Did they ever stop to think about the lyrics? Did they ever wonder why that particular baby's birth was so special? Did they consider why the song would be so enduring if it was absolutely meaningless?
All that nonsense is to say that pretty much, it seems to me that our culture absorbs the frivolous and the absurd as it appears in Christmas songs and pays attention to the materialistic messages in them, but completely ignores the deeper meaning of so many long-standing Christmas carols that declare the news of our Savior's birth. And small wonder. Not only do they not want to hear it, but notice this Christmas season: after listening to the music that will be played absolutely EVERYWHERE starting tomorrow, what gets stuck in your head more easily or frequently: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, or I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (or any in that particular category: Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, all those songs about Santa, all those songs about mistletoe, all those songs about having a merry Christmas in terms of lots of stuff and self-indulgence, etc....)? I know which ones are going to be stuck on replay in my head. And they're not the ones I'd choose.

- Posted from my iPod :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Comic Relief

I'm not sure how big the picture will show up, but I figured maybe I could get away with a less than serious post once every now and then, especially since I just posted a serious entry. Its been a very long, stressful week and I'm pretty much over being serious at the moment. I was researching the Revolutionary War on Thursday and this came up under 'images of the Revolutionary War' in my google search.

"it's like the Revolutionary War, but awesome"

What made it funnier was that my dad walked by and looked at the picture and said, "That looks like something Ben Davis would do."

Ok sure.

- Posted from my iPod :)

There is no I in team

It's one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world, in my humble opinion, to accomplish something as a team. It's one thing to succeed in something on your own ( and that's a good feeling in its own right) but entirely another to achieve something that's greater than anything you could ever do, much less do well, alone. I have been privileged to experience this feeling in several different ways with different groups of people in the not-too-distant past. After not playing a team sport for five years, I honestly did forget some of the advantages and joys of being part of a team. But last year my school started a volleyball team, and it has been amazing to practice and play with a group of girls all working toward a single objective: to glorify God through sports. The first year we never really won, but this year we were 12 to 4 in the regular season and in the championship tournament we beat our toughest opponent when we most needed to and went on to play in the championship game. It was an amazingly unforgettable experience.
I've also been able to participate in the youth band twice this year, and that's been fun as well as memorable. For me there's really no self-glorification in being on a stage singing or playing - not to make me sound really humble or anything because I'm so not. But to be helping to lead people in worship of our God who is so much more powerful, awesome, glorious, and deserving of our praise than we could ever begin to imagine...that in itself is a humbling experience. Some friends of mine and I started a chapel band for school this year. We sang 'Open the Eyes of My Heart' in three different languages, and I had chills running up and down my spine. It sounded almost erethreal and it was absolutely incredible. It served as a vivid reminder that God uses not just our talents but also our weaknesses for His glory. No single person in our group was the most amazing singer, but together, we lifted up a joyous noise unto the Lord.
All this is to say that these are some of my experiences with the body of Christ in action. We are truly a motley crew, some more talented or capable than others, but together, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can achieve great things for His kingdom and His glorification here on earth. And it is both humbling and inspiring and there is quite possibly no better feeling in the world than knowing that you, in all your weakness and sin and shortcomings, are a very small but necessary, unique part of the body of believers in a very big God. In my very humble opinion.
(And to close, I'd just like to note that while there is no I in team, there is an EAM [my initials :P])

- Posted from my iPod :)