Out of touch? Too early? Maybe. I was in our local library and noticed a CD on the shelf: Christmas at Downton Abbey, a collection of Christmas music from Kings College, Cambridge. What was I to do? Pass it up? Say “It’s too early for Christmas music”? Never, ever. Whether religious or not, Christmas music stirs our inner soul, captures our dreams and visions for finding meaning in this short life, while also celebrating the joy that there is more to living than just our daily world. Who cannot be moved by Once in Royal David’s City? Or While Shepherds Watched Their Flock? Hearing the words isn’t needed; the music fills us. To compose such music must require feeling something bigger in one’s existence. Of that I am sure.
And there is more. Christmas music brings people together; whether in a church or a shopping mall people congregate to listen and to sing—and to smile. And yet, such music invokes a sense of reverence and inner contemplation on who we are and what life means to us. Is this because of childhood memories? Possibly a sense of protection and direction that we have lost? Or maybe a sense of belonging to a wider community, sharing similar values? Whatever the reason, the sound of Christmas music will always raise one’s spirits or invoke inner contemplation for those reared in a Christian setting. And I can only imagine that similar emotions occur for those reared in other religious settings when hearing music from their childhood.
Am I being a Pollyanna? This isn’t only what I believe; it’s what I see and experience. Music touches us, both in the creation of memories and in their remembrance. Where Christmas music varies from the norm is that we anticipate it, and the music itself can create the event of Christmas in our hearts. Music composed to a higher level lifts us up.
The CD? No, it had nothing to do with the TV show of the same name, but after playing it non-stop for several days I bought a copy. Life is good.