Thursday, December 23, 2010
Goodnight Les Miserables
Here I am at home listening to much of the same Christmas music I enjoy each season, some wonderfully orchestral, some more vocal and even pop. For instance, I really enjoy Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra singing the old carols. They unabashedly sing about “Christ the King,” “born to give us second birth,…” from a time when it was considered normal operating procedure to sing Christmas carols with all glory of their original lyrics.
The other night on his regular evening program, Bill O’Reilly opined as to whether or not it was offensive to some when “flash mobs” gather in shopping malls across the country to sing Handel’s Alleluia Chorus from his exquisite Oratorio “Messiah” because the words might be offensive to some, presumably “some” are people who shop and celebrate small “c” Christmas and prefer to evacuate all meaning of its origin and significance, who have made it just another secular day off from work.
My first reaction to Bill’s question was consternation because it caused me to wonder why this question should even be asked in the first place? But even if he didn’t, and I know what he was likely driving at – that people who are offended as such were “pinheads” in his vernacular – the question in these times nonetheless is begged every day.
There is a working dynamic here. It is not just the usual offense that the gospel represents to the unchurched. I fear we are entering a new age where everything and anything that directly or indirectly makes reference of the true and original nature and meaning of Christmas will be, little by little, extricated from the public square as arcane, dogmatic, irrelevant and biased against those who prefer never to hear a word on the True Light and Hope of the world, which all of this music in effect points to.
When we fully enter that post-postmodern age where everything is completely devoid of all meaning and all reference to this wonderful message of hope, how shall we then live? What then of our world? Our society? Dear Virginia, yes there may be a Santa Claus, but as for hope? Well, I’m sorry Virginia, there is no hope for you beyond this world. There was no Savior who came to remove the dross from this fallen earth to pave a path to a new world, and hence there is only today, so live for today, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” and it all ends, and sooner rather than later.
What would be next to remove from public view? Any classical literature the makes veiled references to redemption? Goodnight Les Miserables. Farewell to Milton, Adios “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
What then of our coming new and hopeless age? When we are on our respective deathbeds, and become more supple to that last chance at hope, there will be no redemptive literature to reflect upon, no lyrics to ponder, no music to listen to that gives consideration to a coming New and durable life without flaw, in the full light of the Dayspring, the Beautiful Rose of Sharon, whose Kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ. Alleluia.
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