I once was a connoisseur of Christmas music. Eclectic in my tastes, everything from Johnny Mathis to Elvis was in my vinyl, and later, tape collection. I remember becoming daring and purchasing Mannheim Steam Roller’s first Christmas album. Ecstasy would be the perfect description.
I found myself becoming overly and inexplicably irritated this past week because of Christmas music. I angrily changed the stations, violently stabbing my finger at the radio as though I could fry the transistors with the energy in that digit. On more than one occasion I turned off the radio in disgust. I even asked two different clerks in stores how could that endure the incessant playing of Christmas carols all day long (and they readily admitted that they were already tired of it).
I remember cajoling my father to begin playing Christmas music at his supermarket as soon as the calendar rolled over to December (this back in the ancient times before 8-track tapes had been invented). I worked there and longed to be transported into the land of Christmas spirit while filling the shelves with cans of beans, bags of rice and boxes of Tide. He steadfastly refused, waiting until two weeks prior to the event before he would put Bing warbling “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” or Burl Ives cheerfully
belting out “Frosty the Snowman.” But the day I’d come in and hear the melodious tunes wafting down from the ceiling speakers . . . bliss.
But as I stated, something has happened.
It would be easy to chalk it up to “old age” (I do now technically qualify), but I know that age has nothing to do with it. I still get a flutter in this much older heart like I did as a child just thinking and reminiscing about the day.
No, I think my disdain is two-fold.
I think I resent the soiling of my childhood memories. The “simpler” times are gone; it now involves obligation, not the joy of giving and the anticipation of receiving. Now it’s just give for the sake of giving because someone is going to give you something and you must reciprocate. Even commercials on television portray this. Christmas used to be fun and it was overlayed with the mysteriousness of the birth of Jesus. Now it is illegal to say “Merry Christmas.”
And that brings us to the second aspect of my metamorphosis. The desire of the Christian community to give tit for tat in response to the world’s stupidity. Last time I checked, the church is supposed to be different. Now we have become militants, ready to boycott and retaliate, responding in anger over the Merry Christmas fiasco. Excuse me? No wonder the world cuts a wide path around us.
So, if you’re looking for Mr. Scrooge or want to see the Grinch, you’ve just encountered him!