This time of year usually finds us with holiday carols and festive seasonal songs playing on an endless loop in our brains. We first begin to hear them around Halloween with an ever-increasing frequency and fervor. We once found ourselves filling stores, restaurants and the public square. These tunes were the soundtrack of travel, time with extended family and too much, well, of almost everything. While the season didn’t arrive exactly the same, these melodies couldn’t be stopped. Many are welcomed as old friends, while some others would not be missed. Whatever our proclivity to them, the familiar, in times of uncertainty, is always greeted warmly.
As we mature, especially if we are lucky, our thirst for continued learning grows along with us. The same is true for the classic carols. With this more quiet-than-usual year upon us, we can invest ourselves in reevaluating the familiar – both to learn more and to love all the more. A recent playing of the Nat King Cole classic rendition of the 400-year-old hymn “Adeste Fideles” caught the attention of its twenty-something listener: “I never really thought about the fact that this is not being sung entirely in English!” he mused. Momentarily, the internet delivered a wealth of information and translated from the Latin original.
It is a call for the faithful. It is a call to exalt the glory of God. It is a call to adore the infant Christ. Those enlightened cynics among us might dismiss the whole of it as long past any real value in today’s progressive and pessimistic time. But still, is it wise ever to summarily ignore a reminder of the power found in fidelity of spirit, of coming together under one thought, of rejoicing for the great possibility found in a single birth?