Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Be a Scrooge

This Christmas season I have been thoroughly enjoying the wonderful variety of music available though Pandora.  Just at my finger-tips I have available any and all types of Holiday carols.  If I'm in the mood for some Christmas classics, I choose "Christmas Medley Radio" and soon I hear Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby crooning "O Holy Night" or Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton singing (and chatting) their way through "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

I also have bookmarked the "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" station for when I'm more in the mood for the Christmas music you might hear nowadays ... with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with Bruce Springsteen or Michael Buble's "Let it Snow!"  (This is the kids' favorite station!)  Just be forewarned, this station also has an unlimited supply of annoying Christmas songs ... "Mister Santa", for instance, sung to the tune of "Mr. Sandman".

"Mister Santa
Dear old Saint Nick
Be awful careful

And please don't get sick
Put on your coat
When breezes are blowin'
And when you cross the street
Look where you're goin'"

Ooooh, boy ... and there's more.

Then, when I in the mood for something a bit more classy, I switch over to the "Canadian Brass - Holiday" station and enjoy Handel's "Messiah" and the Canadian Brass rendition of "Jingle Bells".  All the music I could want, without spending a penny!

As I have been listening to this wide variety of carols and songs, I have found that there are actually quite a limited number of songs - they're just done and re-done by any number of artists.  Some renditions are sweet ... some, not so much.  I love the old classics sung by Nat King Cole, Sinatra, or Crosby.  However, Brett shared one Dean Martin version of "Marshmallow Winter" and we're quite certain that he was three sheets to the wind!  Oops.  How would you like that recorded for all time?!?

This year, I have found myself truly listening to the songs, perhaps for the first time.   Suffice it to say that I have been surprised by some of the the verses and lyrics.  Sometimes with a, "Did they just say ... ??" and sometimes with a, "I love the imagery of that phrase".

For example, in "Holly Jolly Christmas", does anyone else think it's a little creepy when Burl Ives sings,

"Oh ho
the mistletoe
hung where you can see;
Somebody waits for you;
Kiss her once for me"

Really? ... get your own girl to kiss! :)

In contrast, I love the final lines of the first verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem",

"Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light -
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight"

Jesus, our "everlasting Light", shining in the darkness of our lives.  All of our hopes and fears laid before Him, knowing that He will take our lives (perhaps broken and hurting or expectant and joyful) and make them beautiful.

But as I mentioned above ... after a while you've heard all the Christmas songs out there ... and all the renditions thereof!  So I thought this week I would broaden our musical horizons - Muppet-style!  We watched the Muppet's Christmas Carol with the kids over the weekend ... and found a treasure-trove of Christmas carols to add to our listening repertoire.  Not only are they fun, but each one is surprisingly rich in truth and meaning.  They even made me tear up a time or two ... that is, Ashley and I teared up.  :)

We'll start at the beginning with old Ebenezer Scrooge ... that way we will have a good contrast from cold and hard, to loving and generous.  And we can watch his transformation from skinflint to gift-giver!

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Ebenezer Scrooge

When a cold wind blows it chills you
Chills you to the bone
But there's nothing in nature that freezes your heart
Like years of being alone

It paints you with indifference
Like a lady paints with rouge
And the worst of the worst, the most hated and cursed
Is the one that we call Scrooge
Unkind as any, and the wrath of many
This is Ebenezer Scrooge

Oh, there goes Mr. Humbug
There goes Mr. Grim
If they gave a prize for being mean
The winner would be him
Old Scrooge, he loves his money
Cause he thinks it gives him power
If he became a flavour you can bet he would be sour
(Even the vegetables don't like him)

There goes Mr. Skinflint
There goes Mr. Greed
The undisputed master of the underhanded deed
He charges folks a fortune for his dark and drafty houses
Us poor folk live in misery
It's even worse for mouses 
(Please sir, I want some cheese)

He must be so lonely, he must be so sad
He goes to extremes to convince us he's bad
He's really a victim of fear and of pride
Look close and there must be a sweet man inside
(Nah . . . uh uh)

There goes Mr. Outrage
There goes Mr. Sneer
He has no time for friends or fun
His anger makes that clear
Don't ask him for a favour cause his nastiness increases
No crust of bread for those in need
No cheeses for us meeces

(Scrooge liked the cold.
He was as sharp as a flint, secret and self-contained
As solitary as an oyster.)

There goes Mr. Heartless
There goes Mr. Cruel
He never gives, he only takes
He lets his anger rule
If being mean's a way of life you practice and rehearse
Then all that work is paying off, cause Scrooge is getting worse
Every day in every way
Scrooge is getting worse


Whew!  That is quite an detailed description of a hard-hearted individual:  Mr. Sneer, Mr. Cruel, Mr. Grim & Mr. Greed.  Indifferent, angry, solitary and unkind.

Ashley asked several times throughout the movie, "Is that the mean guy?"

"Yes, Sweetie, but he changes his heart."

Just wait ... :)


Thanks to ST Lyrics for the video and words to today's song.

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