I am a Christmas junkie. It may be possible that I can even get a little ridiculous sometimes. However, I do follow all of the rules! I never utter the word 'Christmas' until the day after Thanksgiving. I promptly take down all of my decorations no later than January 1st.
However, between Black Friday and New Years Eve- I allow myself to indulge in decorating, writing Christmas cards, drinking eggnog and peppermint mochas, and listening to Christmas music. Constantly. Yes, for a complete 33 days my radio plays nothing but yule tide carols being sung by a choir.
Now these Christmas carols have been played over and over for generation upon generation. The same 50 songs have been remade and re-recorded by every artist known. Every pop star seems to be required to make their own version of a Christmas album with traditional songs that hit every possible musical note and ad libs that one can dream up. And though each has a slight variation, they all cling to an idea.
As everyone, I have my favorites.
However, there is one song that can literally bring me to tears every time I hear it. Tears of joy when performed properly. Tears of pain when it is butchered by a well-intended lady singing in church on Christmas Eve.
Every Christmas Eve we attend the mandatory church service. (Mandatory in my own head.) We listen as we clutch our candles and try to follow along in the hymnal. Soon, candle wax drips past our knuckles. It hurts, I won't lie, but we press on.
Then suddenly, the clouds part and they begin to sing Oh Holy Night. (people- not the clouds) Everyone stops and listens. Moved into an abyss, we no longer feel the pain of hot wax.
Next time you hear this song- I ask you to really listen to every note. Hopefully you'll hit one of the good versions. Whomever wrote this song was a musical genius. A genius I say! They had the power to truly capture the moment. When I listen to the song, I actually feel the power of the night that the Savior was born. I'm there. What talent to have captured that.
Another stroke of genius is The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you've never been to one of their concerts- I would highly recommend it. And I don't recommend a lot of things. Okay, that's a lie. But there is something incredible about this musical revelation. What they have done to our traditional sounds of Christmas has carried them to the 21st century on a 737 vice a camel. Incredible.
Finally, there is just one other song that holds that kind of power. It is our National Anthem. Francis Scott Key was so eloquently able to echo his undying love for his country in the simple words and music that compose the most important song to Americans. In it, I can actually feel his pride and patriotism. I get goosebumps. And I am moved. I suddenly want to drive a tank, jump out of a plane, and fly Old Glory from the highest mountain. In that order.
Art continues to amaze me. The perfect story. The perfect song. A captivating painting or photo. A sculpture. It can change people. It can move mountains. It can be passed on for generations and not to lose- but only improve it's meaning and power to all that will listen with an open heart.
What part of art captivates you? In what way does it do that?