Wednesday, December 15, 2010

welcome, christmas?

in recent posts, i've reflected on songs, poetry, and film where i think the message of God comes through -- usually in images or parts of the narrative that reflect our need for him and the good news of his coming into creation to transform it and us. the good news is that the longing for something better -- a better world, better relationships, and even a better me -- is meant to be fulfilled. yes, that starts with a restored relationship with God, but it doesn't end until all of creation is transformed.

the message of last week's glee episode was the opposite. entitled "a very glee christmas," ian brennan wrote an entire story about christmas with seven christmas carols (it's a musical show, after all), none of which referenced anything about what christmas is really about! it's not that i expected a full-on telling of the christmas story with joseph, mary, and the baby Jesus (a la "a charlie brown christmas"), but i'll admit that it was jarring to me how they managed to talk about the "real meaning of christmas" (tm) without even getting close to what christmas really means!

the apex (or nadir) of the episode was the singing of a song entitled "welcome, christmas" (from "how the grinch stole christmas!"). it's a christmas carol that talks about cheer, grace, and togetherness rooted in nothing but ourselves. this actually comes through in the song lyrics, which must be intended to be reminiscent of someone singing in latin, but are really nonsense and have no meaning at all - to wit:
welcome, christmas! fah who rahmus!
welcome, christmas! dah who dahmus!
christmas day will always be!
just as long as we have we!

fah who foraze! dah who doraze!
welcome christmas! bring your cheer!
fah who foraze! dah who doraze!
welcome all who's far and near!
at the end of "a very glee christmas," they have the requisite christmas miracle, two of them actually. sue's miracle -- the miracle of a changed heart -- happens for no apparent reason. artie's miracle is credited to... santa. seriously. well, at least that's what the kids think. in the background, we see the adult figure of shannon beiste, the gold-hearted football coach who is apparently responsible.

so this is the enlightened celebration of christmas: a celebration of goodwill and togetherness that come from nowhere greater than ourselves and mean ultimately nothing. the longing for a better world remains, but as for hope, we're it. this is reason enough a holiday? thankfully, there is a better reason for the season.

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