This weekend is for Messiah. I have rehearsal tonight and performances Saturday and Sunday, and of course work to do. Next weekend is a Christmas cantata at church. The following week is Christmas. This is a startling thought.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is vampires. This is because I teach college classes. Young people spend a lot of time thinking about vampires, and indeed one of my classes has chosen that topic for their final in-class essay (the other class picked video games, the other thing young people think about). So we were discussing all the possible ways to narrow the topic and come up with a thesis, and it struck me that it’s actually kind of odd that we are so wild about vampires in the U.S. right now, when we are also so disgusted by blood that we can’t sing songs like “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood” or “Nothng But the Blood of Jesus,” both of which have been removed from modern hymnals.
Isn’t that an interesting dichotomy? And so, while there are in fact lots of Christmas hymns containing the word “blood” or including the image of God’s blood or human flesh and blood and so forth, I think the modern vampire would prefer the Disney Christmas song “Once Upon a December.” You can hear it in Russian. Or Icelandic, though I’m not sure that it really is Icelandic. I don’t know. It sounds a lot like the Russian one. Or you might like to watch Deana Carter‘s music video. Liz Callaway and Aaliyah have both recorded it. The sheet music can be sampled or downloaded to print out.
Stephen Flaherty wrote the tune and Lynn Ahrens did the lyrics, for the movie Anastasia. Ahrens and Flaherty have a snazzy website where you can hear all kinds of stuff, including a song on gluttony sung by the wonderful Audra McDonald. Whether this has any connection with vampires I’m not prepared to say.
“Once Upon a December” has nothing to do with Christmas, which makes it a perfect song for those who think it’s unseemly to bring religion into Christmas. One of the ladies at rehearsal last night was talking about how they were required, at her place of work, to decorate for Christmas and play Christmas music and wish everyone “Happy Holidays” from about Hallowe’en on, but must be careful to avoid any hint of religion. I think this is wimpy. People who are offended by the birth of Jesus should leave Christmas alone. (Notice I’m not saying anything about people who are observing the festival of their own religion. They’re not the ones being offended by the implication that Christmas has a religious component.) Not everyone agrees with me. The Ayn Rand Institute tells us “Why Christmas Should be More Commercial”. “It’s time,” they say, “to take Christ out of Christmas” and admit that this is a holiday designed for reveling in selfish egoism.