In honor of the Yuletide Season, I have decided to take a little artistic license and focus on song lyrics as poetry. In principle, this post is about Christmas music, as you are going to see, I have also taken artistic license with the concept of Christmas music.
If you are a traditionalist, I have made you an Advent Calendar playlist featuring all “official” Christmas songs.
This year has brought a lot of changes into my life, and I still don’t know where it is all going to go.
Here’s a life lesson for everyone: Don’t go around saying that you hate to be bored unless you are ready for what you get. Because the opposite of not being bored is getting what you haven’t bargained for.
First, here’s your poem
Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
Grace, it’s the name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything
Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
(If you don’t know who Paul Hewson is, for shame and look it up on your own.)
This is the song that is going to be played at my funeral.
Ostensibly, I am a Christian. I question my religious beliefs all the time, but really in the end, it’s the concept of grace that I’m most grateful for in my particular belief system. I know it’s not in Judaism, and I’m pretty sure it’s not in Islam although I think it has to do with what branch of that you’re in (there are just as many branches of Islam as there are Christianity), but anyway I know for sure it’s in Christianity.
When I started thinking about what Christmas means to me, several ideas came to mind. I’ve often wondered why so many religions have an end-of-year holiday. I think it’s because people need to have a time where they stop and take stock of where they are and where they’re headed. In parts of the world where winter is this time of year, it’s also a time during which people traditionally had less “must do” work and had the time to get themselves organized for the coming year.
As I mentioned, this year has brought a lot of transitions in my life. I’m still not sure where I am headed, but I have had a chance to think broadly about how I want to spend the remaining decade or two I have as a fully functioning, healthy adult (I hope).
So the Christmas playlist I have for you for this year is a bit offbeat. In fact, you may actually wonder where the Christmas music is! I brought in a lot of songs that express why I think we need holidays, and religion plus other songs that express how I feel about this time of the year.
And finally, I do have some actual Christmas songs thrown in.
As I was preparing this list, I found myself falling asleep to it as I played it while I was in bed. So if nothing else, I hope this list brings you personal peace and rejuvenation, as well as a remembrance of “the reason for the season.”
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a Peaceful Solstice, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy New Year (the main holiday in some countries), and although I know it’s the wrong time of year in 2019, Eid Mubarak for my Muslim friends who are always so cool about celebrating with the Christians. Sorry, it just feels right.
Happy holidays, y’all.
I have put these songs into a free playlist for you on Youtube: The Lois Level’s Meaning of Christmas.
If you’re feeling that you “just want the Christmas, ma’am”, then please enjoy The Lois Level’s 2019 Advent Calendar. This list has the 24 most Christmasy/Wintery songs from this year’s collection roughly organized to guide you through this season without losing your mind (too much). You can also find my Christmas Playlists on Amazon Music:
The Lois Level’s Meaning of Christmas
The Lois Level’s Advent Calendar 2019
(If I ever figure out how to embed Amazon on a Squarespace web page, I’ll add a link. For now, you will need to look up the playlist on Amazon music. You must be a subscriber for it to work).
The Lois Level’s Meaning of Christmas Playlist Explained
I hope you’ll just listen and enjoy, but if you are the type who likes a rationale, I can do that too.
I have 40 songs* organized around these rough stages:
What we don’t like and why we try to be better.
How God helps us
What is good
Promise and hope
*I decided to keep my list to 40 songs because it’s a good, Biblical number that seems to connote hope. I’ve alluded to it a couple of times in the playlist, most obviously with U2’s “40”, which is taken from Psalm 40. During the Great Flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus prayed in the wilderness for 40 days before coming back to accept his crucifixion. If you think of any more, please mention them on The Lois Level’s Facebook page!
The Lois Level’s Top Ten Videos about the Meaning of Christmas
10. I know this isn’t a Christmas video at all…but the phrase “Not Today Satan” is stuck in my brain from all of the RuPaul’s Drag Race I’ve watched this year. Also my mom used to tell me to say “Get thee behind me Satan” when things went wrong, and this has been a tough year.
(Yup, stuff like that really happens in the south…RuPaul knows it as well as I do ‘cause his mommy was from New Orli’ns)
9. I just heard this song within the last couple of years. I like it because it’s named for one of my favorite movies, Imitation of Life, and also because it’s unbearably catchy. It’s like candy.
Read more about Imitation of Life from The Lois Level here:
8. Been one of my favorites since college. Best song I’ve ever heard for describing our deepest longings.
7. Although it’s definitely not new, this song is new to me this year. One of the last recordings Queen made before Freddie Mercury died, it describes the wonder of the change of seasons from fall to winter. At first I wasn’t sure about it, but it is rapidly growing on me…give it a few listens. Freddie Mercury’s demise, and that that he was ill when he made it, adds to the song’s poignancy.
6. My daughter and I both love Jill Sobule’s version of “Merry Christmas from the Family” because it reminds us of our own crazy family gatherings.
So I don’t get in trouble, I do need to point out that as good Baptists, we don’t drink, and most especially when children are around. We do eat a lot, so replace all the drinking references either with food or the phrase “sweet tea”.
5. You may be wondering where all the Christmas songs are in this playlist. Please note I said “meaning of Christmas” :). Anyway, they are all in here.
4. I love me a bittersweet Christmas song (but by now you know that, right?), and nothing like Londoners singing an ode to the Big Apple! Watch the video closely to see if you can spot your favorite Greaser in a character switch!
3. If you have never seen THIS classic clip from the 80’s featuring an unusual international duet from two musical icons from two generations, now both deceased, you are in for a big treat. Watch with your grandpa.
2. This song is not a Christmas song (or rebel song). This song is “Gloria”. I love it.
You don’t need to be in church to worship.
If you listen to my playlist on Amazon Music, you will hear the Hallelujah Chorus as performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but for video, I love the “Silent Monk” renditions.
As is traditional, we will end with this.
You know you’re supposed to stand for the “Hallelujah Chorus” right? I trust you :).
Merry Christmas and happy listening.
Note: For the Youtube list, I tried to find the best videos I could, either an official music video or good footage of live/televised performances. I did find all the songs I wanted, but not all have good videos. The songs featured here have both.
Go to The Lois Level on Facebook to share your holiday favorites!