One Rabbi’s Christmas Confession

6618a.jpgOK, I admit it: I love to listen to Christmas songs this time of year.

I’ll leave it to you to determine if that makes me a bad Jew or a worse rabbi, but what can I say? I’ve got a major weakness for the ol’ seasonal standards.

Now I’m not talking about Christmas carols or overtly religious hymns (nor do I mean X-mas novelty kitsch like “Barking Dog Jingle Bells” or “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”) No, I’m really, truly a sucker for those aching, melancholy Christmas ballads.

I’m sure you know the ones – they actually come in various sub-genres. There are the “It’s Christmas and I’m Sad Because We’ve Broken Up” songs (i.e. “Christmas/Baby Please Come Home” or “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”) Then there are the “It’s Christmas and I’m Not Able To Make it Home” songs (i.e. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” or “White Christmas”) and there’s the “This May Be the Last Christmas We Ever Spend Together” songs (i.e. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”)

Is it perverse or at all sacreligious for a rabbi to be confessing his love for songs such as these? I dunno, don’t you think there’s something of a Jewish quality to them? Maybe it’s their quasi-exilic yearning (not to mention the fact that most of them were written by Jews anyhow.)

So that’s my seasonal guilty pleasure confession. And lest you judge me too quickly here, just take the test yourself. Check out James Taylor’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” as sung by Sarah McLachlan. (Man, that last line gets me every time…)

10 thoughts on “One Rabbi’s Christmas Confession

  1. Oy Brant, say it isn’t so! Well I suppose even a rabbi needs a vice here and there, something to repent for on YK (smile)

  2. You can also try “An Old Christmas Card”,”Blue Christmas” or “Silver Bells” by Jim Reeves. And please don’t worry about people being judgmental towards you-it’s music after all and everyone has a right to enjoy it.

  3. There is nothing wrong with you. I love the music too. My two-year-old son was singing a song about Santa today on his way to school at the Chabad Lubavitch. I cringed at the thought of him continuing that song inside the building, but what can I do? 🙂

  4. I know what you mean. I like those Christmas songs too -because they speak of human conditions and emotions and their lyricists rightly figured that more things rhyme and resonant with Christmas in this country, than say Purim (Not that Home For Purim isn’t a classic in its own right).

  5. I’m enjoying almost all the Christmas songs except for ALVIN! Hope I’m not looked at as an animal hater!
    Have a happy and healthy secular NY.
    Vickie

  6. Rock on! Absolutely. The kind of Christmas songs that you describe are not about Christ, but about family warmth, sentimental achings of the heart, winter fun, longing…in short, universal human sentiments. They are from the American songbook, not the New Testament.

  7. In Germany I used a flush toilet which had two buttons for engaging the flush mechanism. The buttons were labeled #1 and #2.

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