Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve! And there's no snow yet, in case you were wondering, but we're hoping for it. It was a long haul yesterday across the desert, and we beat the storm and the traffic, so it will be a good hangtime with a bunch of family this afternoon, as we prepare the home for Santa's arrival.

HE WILL COME. (In case there was any question about it.) The Little Ditchman heard the story once and didn't question it for a second, so she is sufficiently stoked. Of course, she's been asking for gifts that are outside of the parameters of mom's and dad's wishes, so there will be a certain amount of magical Christmas diplomacy going on. Her cousins are right at the age where if Santa's existence is challenged, well, the gifts simply won't come. Ah, yes.. The Age of Prudence. Anyway, if they ruin it for the Little Ditchman, no gifts shall ever come again. This, I think, everyone gets.

The kid has seen A Charlie Brown Christmas enough times now that she quotes it back to us, which is an entertaining feat, given the amount of sarcasm in the show. It's my favorite Christmas movie, a work of timeless perfection, and if I watch it alone with a glass of wine, I sob uncontrollably. Last night we watched it again, and I had the wine, but the family was all around. It took everything I had to contain myself. However could I explain?

If I had the time and the wherewithal, I'd write a dissertation on it, and perhaps I will one day, but today it's last minute shopping and picking up family from the airport and nice bottles of wine and ho ho ho, so I'll spare us all. But I will mention that "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is the Little Ditchman's new favorite song, and suddenly it's mine too. After the Peanuts basically crucify Charlie Brown and Linus gives everyone the Message, it's the song they all sing together in the end. It's an interesting choice, when you think about the others that could've easily fallen into that slot. But they sing it all the same, and not in the rousing jubilant fashion as it's often sung, but with the quiet humble voices of a choir of children, and as John Wesley's brother (Charlie) originally intended. The Little Ditchman doesn't know the words, doesn't know what it means, but sings it all the same, too, and hearing her do it... I can barely hold it together.

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Merry Christmas.