Ok, I admit it, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I have my favorties, my less-than-favorites, my compromises. I come to one place that has awful coffee but there's a fireplace and the people are friendly; I sometimes sneak over to the shop across the street because the coffee is so much better, but there's no fireplace and the staff are kind of surly sometimes. Maybe I just catch them on bad days.
The one thing these places all have in common is Christmas music. Mostly of a pop/rock variety. This brings me to my subject of the day.
Here's the thing: half the people who are producing these Christmas songs would easily fall into the war on Christmas camp. You know, Christians are the bad guys, it's all just a myth, get your Nativity scene off my town hall lawn, etc.
But they're all pretty happy to cash in on the holiday.
Not that they violate the anti-Christmas sentiments. The pop Christmas songs I've been sujected to over the past few weeks could have been about anything. Substitute any other word for hte word "christmas" and the songs still work fine.
Take Elton John. "Step Into Christmas" goes like this: "Welcome to my Christmas song, I'd like to thank you for the year, and say it's nice to have you here."
Allow me to translate: "Welcome to my bank account, I'd like to thank you for the amount you've poured into my lap this year."
That's it. That's the whole message.
The more Christmas music I hear as I prowl the malls and supermarkets, the more I wonder how long it will be before real Christmas music is banned from the public square. Songs about Christ and His coming- think Bing Crosby and "Silent Night," or Nat King Cole's rendition of "O Little Star of Bethlehem." Does anyone think they could be made today and broadcast freely? The anti-Christmas set would be on the producers like a shot.
A few years ago I was in a work out class at the Y. You know the kind, hand weights and loud music and impossibly toned young women shouting encouragement into their microphones. After about twenty minutes the instructor sai, "OK, everybody, this next song's a great workout tune! Just try not to listen to the lyrics, okay?"
The song was "Spirit in the Sky." When I asked her afterward what was wrong with the lyrics, she tol me, "We really can't have people hearing stuff about Jesus."
I figure the great Christmas songs have another five years in the malls. Then it will be just Cindy Lauper bleating "It Feels Like Christmas" and the adorable Darlene Love giving us "It's a Marshmallow World."
Wait a second- a Marshmallow World? Where are the anti-obesity cops? Somebody get on that right away!