The polls have closed, and Sufjan Stevens edged out both the cast of Peanuts and Mariah Carey for best Christmas album. I'm expecting he'll want to write a guest post as his form of an acceptance speech. So, for the next 18 days, you are asked to pick your favorite Christmas song from the list on the left. Choose wisely.
I think one of my favorite Christmas songs as of late is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow written in 1864. His wife had just died in an accidental fire, his country was being torn apart from the Civil War, and his son had just been grievously injured on the battlefield. He begins with what seems like a happy note:
I heard the bells on Christmas day,
their old familiar carols play
and wild and sweet the words repeat,
of peace on earth, good will to men (sic).
But he really gets into the heart of it on the fourth and fifth verse. In the midst of so much personal and corporate suffering, he honestly writes:
But in despair I bow my head,
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men."
Yet, the last verse sings of a deep hope in the midst of grief and despair. I get the chills when I hear it:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth, good will to men."
That will preach! I always liked Pedro the Lion's version, mainly because I imagine Dave Bazan's almost despairing voice is exactly how I imagine Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's frame of mind in writing this.
On a totally unrelated notes, here are some things I've been needing to confess for a while:
1. I feel an innate sense of superiority over people who rely on snooze buttons (no offense to my current roommate or previous roommates). I don't try to think this way, but subconsciously (sometimes more "sub" than others) that such people are a bit weaker in some way because of their inability to get up in the morning.
2. I don't like the new Bon Iver album. I think it sounds like he was forced to record an album using only the instruments in Yanni's recording studio. All that synthesizer detracts from the album in my humble opinion.
3. Last Christmas I got subscriptions to both The Economist and The New Yorker, and I barely read either of them. I have such good intentions and enjoy when I do, but I don't.
4. I've always known I should like John's songs better, but I like Paul's. Frankly, I'm a sucker for a good ballad.
5. I usually can't tell the difference between good and bad coffee. In fact, I'm still not a huge fan of coffee in any form (espresso drinks excluded).
We're up to 5 apartments set up this week. I think we'll have six by Friday. I'm going to be a bodybuilding Santa for Christmas this year. Later.