Day 345 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

Have you noticed how fast the days are flying by until Christmas arrives? It is officially 21 days until Christmas or as the shopping centres say: “21 shopping days left before Christmas!”

21 days til christmasDo the shopping centres decide how we should speak? What if we were to say: “21 days before we celebrate the birth of Jesus?” Would we be accused of being too religious because some people may not believe in Jesus? And yet, it is perfectly okay to speak about life in terms of shopping, isn’t it? Strange really.

But we do have choices and we are the ones who end up choosing the way that we speak. So why be offended whichever way it goes? In Australia, we are so lucky we live in a free society where we can celebrate Christmas in whichever way we like.

I heard a lovely Christmas Carol on ABC radio today as I was going out. After it was finished, the announcer read a text from a listener who criticized the ABC for playing Christmas music. Basically, the text was saying that the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) as a public broadcaster funded by the taxes of the people, should not play Christmas carols.

Immediately I thought “Oh no! Not one of these people again!” How many times have we heard stories about Kindergartens who refuse to sing any Carols at Christmas because of someone else’s beliefs? I hoped against hope that the ABC would not listen to this. Later on driving home, I heard another Christmas Carol being played so I guess nothing has changed at the ABC … thank goodness for we are supposed to be a Christian country after all!

silent nightI have also noticed that our local shopping centre no longer plays Christmas music through their general PA system at Christmas time. Perhaps if I were to head into the Myer Department Store I would hear them playing The Myer Spirit of Christmas there. A spokeswoman for the store said it was generating high sales of the CD. Well, good for them. I’ll have to visit!

But, what about the text message lady on the radio? She was saying that the ABC should remain neutral and not play any Christmas music. What a sad place it would be if we lived in a neutral world folks.

Let us imagine what that would be like. Imagine a beige world with no colour. No green grass. No blue sky. Everyone dressed in the same dull tones. No. I cannot even begin to imagine such a world! Neutral? Methinks it is an impossibility!

But hey, look at the wonderful, rich and diverse world we live in full of vibrancy and colour with all different races and creeds. How blessed we are!

Now, I have very fond memories of shopping for Christmas while Silent Night or other carols are playing softly in the background. It puts me in a very good mood because I associate this music with good times and buying for those we love. I do not need a marketing exercise to coerce me to want to buy gifts. I LOVE to buy gifts! The music just puts me in the right mood for doing so.

On the other hand, I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about this very subject. The article heading said “Frazzled Shoppers preferred a silent night.”  They wanted the peace and quiet of having no music! They wanted a true silent night (or day) of peace.  Here is what the article said:

“Just ask Coles. When it put out a call on social media recently for in-store Christmas song requests, it was inundated with advice. “Maybe turn Rudolph off? 2 hours and counting tonight,” wrote Luke Busuttil.

“Jingle Bells on repeat Saturday. Baby’s First Christmas yesterday and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer today. Do you want your workers to massacre the customers?” responded another. “We’ve gotta get out of this place,” suggested one disgruntled shopper.”  www.smh/frazzled-shoppers-would-prefer-a-silent-night-

xmas musciDon’t you just wonder about these opinions? Did anyone who loves the music bother to reply I wondered? Well, yes they did apparently. The problem was that people got sick of the repetitive nature of the songs with not enough of them on the playlist. But, some did like the music:

“Among the more helpful responses Coles received from its customers on Facebook, Bing Crosby, Michael Buble, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe album was among the most requested.”

So there you have it. It is interesting that people responding on Facebook want Bing Crosby because the others they suggested are all singers most likely favoured by the young. Good old Bing. It seems no one gets sick of listening to his velvet tonsils crooning as he sings out those old favourite Christmas songs.

As for me, I love all kinds of music. The religious ones and the non-religious ones. Ones with Santa Claus and chimneys and even snowflakes wafting down when I live in hot Australia. I love it all.

But really, if the truth be told, I think of this time of year as Advent (the word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning COMING). A time when, with others in my church, I wait for the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Day.

Each Sunday Priest light one candle until all four are lit by Christmas Day.

Each Sunday Priest light one candle until all four are lit by Christmas Day.

Sure, this is a time of  enjoyment: of decorating the Christmas tree, of baking cakes and buying gifts. All of this is going on in my life at the same time. But from a deep place within my heart, there is a parallel universe where I am preparing inwardly for the coming of the Child and trying to open my clenched fists and let go. For me:

“Advent is a time of receiving. It’s hard to receive if your hands are clasped shut. So I begin Advent once again with this prayer: Holy Spirit of God, open my hands, my eyes, my ears, all my senses, and all of my heart so I will be ready to receive your Advent blessings.”

And with this snippit I will conclude my ramblings. Amidst all the hype of Christmas preparations, put on some nice Christmas music and take a little time out folks, to dwell on the reason for the Season.