Monday, November 27, 2017

Lo, We Abhor Not

Playing now . . .

My friend Cate and I had to laugh when we read / heard about the detrimental effects of hearing too many happy holiday songs too early in the season. We're the exact opposite, always ready for a therapeutic "Jingle Bell Rock." I'm sorry for those who can't bear it, but as for me and my house, we will serve Christmas Music!

A few years back, I didn't hesitate when asked the curious question: "What is the soundtrack of your life?" Easy! It's all Christmas music, all the time: Karen Carpenter, Arthur Fiedler, Henry Mancini, Lawrence Welk, John Williams, Stevie Wonder, Ida Zecco.

As October gives way to November gives way to December; as Halloween gives way to Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas, I begin craving all the old familiar tunes! I don't even need to jot down any specific favorites, because I love them all --
well, with a couple of brief exceptions. First of all, I believe in the separation of church and state and gynecology. Thus, my beliefs require that I omit the lines "offspring of a virgin's womb" ("Hark! the Herald Angels Sing") & "Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb" ("O, Come All Ye Faithful"). Nor am I alone in finding these to be some of the worst Christmas carol lyrics ever. Second of all, "Baby It's Cold Outside" -- just say no!
But aside from having to work around these sexist glitches, the melodies bring back the good old days and the harmonies restore my faith in humankind.

Presents from Cate

Around this same time last year, I wrote to Cate: "I'm trying to feel festive about taking all the Halloween things down to the basement and bringing up all the Christmas decorations. But somehow I just feel so sad -- about Thanksgiving being over and missing the boys; about my mom and getting old; and about the election and wondering if the Messiah will ever come to this Earth.

"On the bright side, I'm listening to all the Advent CDs you put together for me -- the gift that keeps on giving -- and listening to Carole King's "Beautiful" --
'I have often asked myself the reason for sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there's any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart . . . '

Cate replied: 'The Messiah is here. Inside of each of us who trusts the Divine. Here in faith, here in love, here in you. More later.'"

I also had to share with Cate a related observation for the Advent Season, from the Rev. Peter Bunder:
"Jesus did not come so that we could spend the entire month of November and December racing around like crazy, getting ready for Christmas. He came to give us the same message that the angel Gabriel brought to The Virgin Mary: Blessed Are You Among Women!" [see also Labor Day & Annunciazione]
Yes, that's it! That's what the incessant Christmas music tells me -- that I am blessed among women. But I guess for some, the music tells them to race around like crazy. Sad! As for Cate and me, we are ready and have been for months now. Bring on the music! We abhor it not!

Indigo Girls ~ Holly Happy Days! ~ "There's Still My Joy"


  1. Well! Did you know that 2 yrs ago someone broke into my house and only stole all my Christmas CD's?!
    Not really...I just couldn't find them because I had put the 60 or so neatly away by genre...
    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
    And that reply - I'm always mystified by my quotes. "Did I (moi) really say that?" Lol.


    Worst Christmas Carol lyric ever
    December 12, 2013
    "Earlier this week I attended my first carol service of the season (because my daughter was playing the flute in it), and I realised that verse 2 of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ has to contain the worst lyric ever written for a Christmas carol: ‘Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb.’

    It’s bad from the very first word. ‘Lo’ means ‘look.’ But what are we supposed to be looking at? And what is so praiseworthy about not abhorring a virgin’s womb? Why the hell should he abhor it?

    Apparently this mish-mash is the work of the Rev. Frederick Oakley, who translated the hymn from the original Latin in 1841. The corresponding line in Latin is ‘Gestant puellae viscera‘, which simply means ‘born of a virgin’s womb,’ so where he got the ‘abhor’ bit from is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he felt he needed to make it scan – but then he didn’t bother about that with the first two lines of the verse, which go ‘God of God/Light of light’, and have to be stretched out to fit the tune."