I have to admit, although I don’t consider myself a Christian (I haven’t set foot in a church in earnest for over 30 years) I desperately love Christmas. I love it all: the lights, the trees, the presents. I’m a sucker for it, and I buy-in hard when it comes to the holiday season (whoop de doo) I also love Christmas music. I love it a lot.
My fondest Christmas memories as a kid are of listening to Julie Andrews or Bing Crosby on the big record player console and sitting under the heavily decorated tree, making present piles, counting to see which of us had the most gifts. (Funny how it always ended up exactly the same…well done mom.) I have tons of fond memories of my family at Christmas time. I cannot remember a “bad” or unhappy Christmas. I am a very, very fortunate human being. I am grateful for my pleasant, happy and even-keeled childhood. As I have aged, and learned more about other folk’s childhoods, I realize I owe my parents a huge debt. They kept us pretty sheltered from the shit in our world.
I am also aware that it is my duty as a parent to try to raise my child with the same type of idyllic life. A safe, happy and even keeled upbringing. Part of this for me, naturally, is a love for the holidays and the music that goes with it. Usually, the day after Thanksgiving, I am all too happy to force Christmas music on my non-Christian family. They don’t love it as much as I do, but they indulge me. Tree and decorations usually go up the weekend after Thanksgiving and most of December is spent with fires in the stove, cocoa in mugs, and skis on the hill; also, there is lots and lots of Christmas music.
A few weeks ago, I was listening to my favorite Pandora station (Christmas Jazz – I highly recommend it) when on came the classic version of “Frosty the Snowman”. That particular tune isn’t necessarily one of my all-time favorites, or even in my top 20 for that matter, but I kept it on, knowing that Michael Buble had to be just around the corner.
As I listened to Burl Ives bravely and precisely deliver this cheesy tune, I caught myself pondering the lyrics; believe it or not, there is something weighty there. One lyric struck me and gave me pause, “Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day, so he said, ‘let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.’” That was an incredibly brave response, wasn’t it? Frosty didn’t freak out, or get moody, or ask, “why me?” but rather he used up his time having fun and celebrating the very thing that would be his demise. Frosty was going to die. He knew it. He didn’t get maudlin or sappy. He didn’t allow any self-pity. He didn’t even check off any snowman bucket list items. He spent the rest of his precious time making the children around him happy. He lived for others, even up until the end.
I think that is pretty stellar response from a snowman. He didn’t lock himself away in a freezer. He didn’t find the nearest air conditioner. He got out there and lived big.
We are all Frosty. Our time on this rock is finite, paltry and way too short. The sun is out, people. Regardless of your health, or your lifestyle, or your religion, we are all going to die at some point. How are we going to spend the rest of our sunny days? Do we panic and try to find shade? Do we mope and cry? Or do we bravely find the sun? I know it will be difficult, especially in the face of the inevitable, but I hope I can muster up enough courage and happiness to find the sun.