Friday, December 21, 2012

MY FAVORITE SONG ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Over the years, through the centuries actually, Christmas songs have been written, each from a special perspective.  There are your Christian Christmas songs that celebrate the birth of Christ.  It seems that everyone knows at least the first verse of the old classic Christmas hymns.  Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Joy To The World, Silent Night, The First Noel and Away In A Manger are used to represent the true meaning of Christmas by Christians throughout the world.

There are Christmas songs from the secular part of the holiday which tells of Santa Claus, Presents under a tree, snow falling everywhere even where there isn't any snow, and a reindeer with a red nose or a snowman with a magic hat.  Again everyone knows these songs and are as important to Christmas, it would seem, as the hymns that are sung.  Often times as carolers go from house to house sing one song and then another, the religious hymns are interspersed with the secular songs of Rudolph and Frosty.

There are what I call the modern Christmas songs which really date back to the fifties.  Most of these songs were written for Christmas movies or television shows.  They are wonderful, beautiful songs that dig deep into your heart as you think of Christmas.  White Christmas, I'll Be Home For Christmas, and Christmas Time Is Here are a few of these.  There are heartbreak songs that tell of a sad Christmas like Blue Christmas, and If We Make It Through December.  New religious oriented songs have been written, the most beautiful one in my mind is O! Holy Night.

There is one special Christmas song though.  It isn't very well known to most people although it is starting to be noticed.  It was written in 1975 by progressive rocker Greg Lake.  A lot of older readers and younger readers may not be aware of Mr. Lake's work.  The bands he was in were very well known for awhile but like a lot of popular music, they seem to leave and the generations that follow do not remember them.  Greg Lake was a member of King Crimson and the more popular group, Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  Lake was a great songwriter penning many hits and a philosopher with lyrics that touched the soul.  But his greatest work, as far as I am concerned, is also one of his lesser known songs.

"I Believe In Father Christmas" was fairly well received during the Christmas season of 1975.  It was released as a single though and therefore relied on radio air play to get to listeners ears.  And when it did reach those listeners, the lyrics seemed confusing.  Some thought the words described a young child being sold on the idea of Christmas, being sold on the idea of Christ, and coming to the realization that it was all a lie, making it an anti-Christmas song.  Others saw it as a confirmation of Christmas and a song that combined both the secular and Christian viewpoints of Christmas.  The latter was the more accurate of the interpretations of the song.

The music of the song is, and here my typing pauses.  I am not sure how to describe  the music.  Wonderful, beautiful, majestic, powerful.  These are all words that come to mind.  The song tells of Lake's personal experience with Christmas.  As a child he was told that Christmas is of snow and gifts and magical beings that bring presents.  Most of these he believed even though in his native England, it rained more often that snowed at Christmas time.

It tells of his growing into maturity and coming to his own personal belief in Christ, and realizing the Christian meaning of the holiday.  Then as he ages and as the economy of the world turns strong and advances are made in the production of all the Christmas trappings that we face even today, he became cynical about Christmas and the commercialization of Christmas.  He looked around and saw that in a lot of ways, Christmas was losing it's meaning.  He came to realize, in his own words, that Christmas was more about" giving then receiving"... and we had lost that part of Christmas.   He realized that the true meaning of Christmas, the Christian view, was being over run by the secular view and that it wasn't a good thing.  He wanted to bring Christmas back to where he thought it should be.  His final lines in the song state his belief that the way we celebrate Christmas, what we put into it, is what we are going to get out of it.  Celebrating Christmas strictly commercially would bring disappointment and sadness while celebrating it religiously would bring about inner peace and joy.

I listen to this song year around.  It is such a beautiful song with a beautiful meaning.  If ever there was a Christmas song that could and should be listened to all through the year, this is the one.  This song covers from being a child to maturing into an adult and how we handle our beliefs.  It is by far, my favorite Christmas song.  Enjoy "I Believe In Father Christmas" circa 1975 by Greg Lake.

I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS
Greg Lake - 1975 

They said there'd be snow at Christmas
They said there'd be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And the eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'd be snow at Christmas
They said there'd be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve


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