Monday, December 21, 2009


Thinking about holiday music and silence during these remaining days before Christmas

TURN YOUR RADIO ON, ER, OFF.  On an errand one evening, I turned on the radio in my VW Beetle.  Christmas music--sacred and secular, sophisticated and sappy--played on many stations as I searched the dial.  Everything from "Silent Night" sung a cappella by a large choir to "Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey" sung by Lou Monte.  "Dominic" still rings in my head.  I can't get away from it.  “Hee-haw, hee-haw…”

WHAT IS ITS IMPACT ON US?  Serious question: What is the impact of listening endlessly to Christmas music for over a month?  How much of our understanding and expectation of the season comes from the incredible mix of Christmas music, instead of our own experience?  How do we experience or encounter the unique gift of Christmas joy when we've been saturated with a thousand versions of how, when, and where it's going to happen?  How much are we shaped by Christmas music?  Is it merely elevator music or does it reach us?  Should it?

MEASURE OF SPIRITUALITY.  A person who's calling and witness I look up to once said that he could measure the temperature of his spirituality by how quickly he reached for the radio "on" button as he traveled around the city in his vehicle.  The idea is that noise prevents silence and masks the "still small voice" of God.  Am I ready and/or willing to let God speak to me?

BETTER THAN RUSH.  Some of the spiritual masters, like Henri Nouwen, write about "mini-solitudes" in our transitions from one place, occasion, or appointment to another.  One women who attended a church I served decided not to get her car CD and tape player fixed because she had been able to pray so effectively during the time she used to listen to Rush Limbaugh.  Amen, sister!

GREATNESS OR NOISE?  Granted, Advent and Christmas have inspired the greatest music.  And it should be celebrated with singing!  But can we really experience its depth if the season’s music becomes mere background noise in our hustle and bustle up to the day "you know who" comes to town?  Give yourself a break.  Let silence bring the music of Christmas to you.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

1 comment:

  1. Over the years, I have become very conscious of "choosing" to have the radio/music/TV on. I enjoy music and it ministers deeply to me. Sometimes, it's silence that ministers better.

    RE: Your tweet on what you are tired of--put up at about 1130 your time: Ayn Rand is(imagine bold here)not Christian in the values expressed.


Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.