Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A True Confession

Christmas carols make me cry.

They make me bawl. Especially the old old old ones, the ones that have been sung for generations, like Deck the Halls or God rest ye Merry Gentlemen. (My friend Shannon says, "even the Bare-Naked Ladies version?" Gosh yes, the 'star of wonder' part with Sarah McLachlan gets me every time.)

Recently, I got to go to a Christmas concert with friends. Lifelong friends, the kind of friends who it's okay to cry in front of, who've known you for so long that they totally know you're gonna cry, it's just who you are.

And I hung on, without tears, until the third song in the program – I'll Be Home For Christmas. It was sung in that slow sad way, a lovely duet, and dedicated to the gentleman in this choir who had performed it in years past, but who had passed away this year. He always used to dedicate it to the soldiers fighting in our various wars, which of course made us all think about the soldiers who don't come home from our various wars. It was really sad. Everybody cried at that one.

But they all had put away their handkerchiefs by the time the next song started. I kept mine out; for Jingle Bells, for the Robert Frost poem converted to a song, even for the jolly sing–along in the second set.

Now, I am not religious in any sense. (I am spiritual, just not a member of any organized religion.) But these songs get me all the same, and when I cry they're not tears of sadness. They're tears of joy, having as much to do with the beauty of the voices singing together as with the words themselves.

The final song in the concert was the Alleluiah from Handel's Messiah, and the choir did a lovely, lovely job. An odd song for a non-Christian to cry over, you suggest? Maybe. But cry I did; I was thinking about the passion these singers, other singers, and the composer himself all feel for their subject. It was so moving.

My crying over Christmas carols eternally confuses poor Ben, whose childhood didn't prepare him for December in a non-Jewish household. How can I cry about something that isn't even my religion, he wonders? Yet the tears of joy brought forth by the songs of the season make perfect sense to me, because they have everything to do with family, traditions, and love.

And I am lucky enough to have lots of those three crucial blessings.


topsy-techie said...

I truly think you are the sweetest thing. I'm definitely moved by songs of the season...but don't usually get teary. (Okay, that Sarah McLaughlan commercial where she's singing Silent Night and showing all the animals without homes...I'll admit to some tears on that one) I AM, however, one of those who loves the carols so much that I know all the words to all the verses. People think that's wierd. I don't really care. I LOVE this time of year!!! :)

candyn said...

Oh my gosh, me too, me too! Same exact thing. For me the one that gets me most is Little Drummer Boy. No matter who sings it, I'm a wreck. And it is such a weird song when you really listen to it. Still. Tears. I have a embarrassingly big holiday folder on my itunes. I don't do Lifetime movies, so I guess this is where I get my sappiness out?

Jena said...

So beautiful! I feel the same way. I just love all the traditions and togetherness we have this time of year.

One of my most meaningful Christmases was being pregnant with Meg over the holiday. I thought how difficult it would be to travel by donkey being 9 months pregnant and having your husband deliver the baby in a barn! Amazing.

Wishing all you stone age techies a truly memorable holiday!!

jugglingpaynes said...

I cry over my favorite Christmas specials, especially The Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey. I watched Yes, Virginia today and even THAT started making me tear up. I feel that sentimentality you are talking about. I think you are right about it. All that love welling up has to release somewhere. Tears are the easiest way out. :o)

Peace and Laughter!

Sparklee said...

What a great post! I'm frequently teary-eyed over sentimental things, and I even caught my husband sniffing a little after watching It's a Wonderful Life!

Hope you're having a joyful time with your family!