Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Truth in the Least Likely of Places

Here in Ukraine, only the Catholics and the Evangelicals — who together make up a very small percentage of the Christian community — celebrate Christmas on December 25th. Instead, Ukrainians do their gift giving on January 1st and celebrate Christ's birth according to the Orthodox calendar, which is January 7th. All of this means that things are busy right up to, and even after December 25th, making it hard to slow down and focus on the spiritual Center of the coming holiday. So, this year, we decided to move our sleeping in, special breakfast and gift giving to January 1st. Rather than feeling like New Year's Day, today feels like Christmas morning.

In that spirit, I tracked down the song, Spotlight on Christmas by Rufus Wainwright that a friend of ours had mentioned in an email. And it turns out that I actually love it, despite my best intentions to avoid being sucked in by catchy pop music that lacks creativity and does not involve much talent. I'm not making a blanket judgment on Rufus Wainwright, not knowing him or his music very well. It just seems, from this song and the few others that I've heard, that he creates catchy pop music that lacks creativity and does not involve much talent.

The main reason that I love it, however, has little to do with the music but a lot to do with the second verse. It goes like this:

People love and people hate
People go and people wait
But, don't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Once were a family poor but rich in hope, yeah
Don't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Running from the law, King Herod hath imposed
And they were each one quite odd
And mensch, a virgin, and a God
But don't forget that what kept them afloat
Floating through the desert doesn't take a boat, no
Don't forget that what kept them above
Is unconditional love

Yes, the line about the boat in the desert is cheesy and yes, he may not believe what he sings about Jesus, Mary and Joseph but, at the end of the day, finding Christian truth proclaimed unexpectedly in a pop song kinda gets me going. Nothing beats Linus reading Jesus' birth narrative from the Gospel of Luke in A Charlie Brown Christmas. But with our VCR broken this "Christmas," I'll thank Rufus Wainwright for bring the Gospel to me through pop culture.


shaun said...

Good post, Eric. I too have a favorite Christmas song discovered in an unlikely place. Thinking Feller's Union Local 282's song Lamb's Lullaby is beautiful and surprisingly reverent while maintaining TFUL's signature, umm, "no-boundaries" style. If possible get a copy of the song, rather than reading the lyrics separately.

eric O said...

You and Steve did your best to get me into TFUL and I must say, the concert we went to way back when was outstanding (I don't think Steve was there, I think the other member of our party was female. Maybe it was Steve dressed up like a girl?). Out of it all I only got one album but, fortunately, it was the album with Lamb's Lullaby, so I am familiar - and it is beautiful. Maybe one day I'll post about it also. Thanks for the reminder.

Mark McD said...

Hey, Eric. Hope you all have a happy new year. I was missing hearing from you all, that maybe you just got snowed in. Hope everything is going okay at the seminary and with the group.

shaun said...

Awesome! I'm glad you have that CD. You know, I don't think I was at that TFUL show - I'm pretty sure I missed it (some scheduling conflict) and I suspect Steve was there. BUT, at the same time, just last week when we were visiting Steve & Danica, Steve said "Remember when you came over that time and we were going to see Polyphonic Spree at the Brown Derby (just down the street), but we decided not to? That was a bummer. Look at them now." The funny thing is I totally remember going to that show. Ah, good times (whether they actually happened or not).