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Handel’s “Messiah” is the epitome of Christmas music. Handel incor­po­rates the purpose of the Messiah’s birth: His death and res­ur­rection, man’s sinful nature, Christ’s for­giveness of sins, the Christian life. His music fits the occasion of the Christmas Holiday because it draws all the com­po­nents of Christmas together in a great and glo­rious – albeit a bit lengthy when term papers are calling — ora­torio.  Not only does the piece match the occasion, but the sound also matches the words.

For example, in the second part the men sing once, author­i­ta­tively in unison “The Lord gave the word” and the entire choir dis­solves into a great company of preachers, building upon each other, parting ways, and exploring new paths in the music while remaining in harmony.

It becomes increas­ingly grand and glo­rious.

I returned from the “Messiah” and finally turned on my Christmas music –– yes, I hold out until Dec. 1 for carols, none of this mixing Thanks­giving and Christmas non­sense –– but “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and “Santa Baby” was the best Spotify could offer, nothing to the caliber of the “Messiah.”

Nothing says Christmas like pop singers singing about getting frisky in cold weather –– somehow informing an uniden­tified indi­vidual about the weather to influence his or her actions just screams “Merry Christmas.” Watch out weather channel, you’re about to get a whole lot of Christmas cheer.

Appar­ently hitting Santa up with sultry jazz or a naughty, little ‑girl voice for an absurdly fancy gift unmis­takably fits the purpose and tra­dition of Christmas.

Cer­tainly the days of wanting a hip­popotamus for Christmas or just your two front teeth are long gone. All we want now, beside the standard world peace, end to hunger and poverty, and a cure for cancer is someone, “here tonight, holding me so tight.” Never mind their faith­fulness, affection, attention, com­pat­i­bility.  No: “just you…baby.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Christmas music that you can’t find in a hymnal –– I love Nat King Cole telling me to have a “merry little Christmas,” and I often dream of a “White Christmas”and while “Walking in a Winter Won­derland.”

But at least his music is about Christmas, not about broken rela­tion­ships, emerging tem­porary rela­tion­ships, breaking rela­tion­ships or just rela­tion­ships in general. If we keep on this track look out; One Direction’s  “What Makes You Beau­tiful” might show up in your Holiday Music play-list as long as they say “Happy Hol­idays” or “Santa” or “Snow” some­where in the song.

   

                                   mmeadowcroft@hillsdale.edu

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From Portland, Oregon. He serves as the paper’s Associate Editor. Meadowcroft is majoring in history and participates in theatre and is on the editorial board of the Tower Light literary publication. Meadowcroft has also worked for the American Spectator. He hopes to write after college on arts and culture, international affairs, travel, theology, and politics. email: mmeadowcroft@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @micahmuses