December 24, 2011

Oh, that's not the right way to begin Christmas Eve Day!

That first post. False internet trash. Let me start over with this, which Meade just IM'd me.

ADDED: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is perhaps the last song Christians should embrace. Not only is it bereft of every reference to Christianity short of the word "Christmas," it refers to goddesses from another religion: "through the years, we all will be together if The Fates allow."
The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai (in Greek Μοῖραι – the "apportioners", often called The Fates), in Greek mythology, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny... They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death, and it was impossible for anyone to act over his own destiny....
Supposedly, the original lyric actually was "if the Lord allows," and "The Fates" were swapped in to make it secular... which is offensive to anyone who believes in the religion of the ancient Greeks.
If someone broke his boundaries, thus getting more than his ordained part, then he would be punished. By extension moira was one's portion or part in destiny which consisted of good and bad moments as it was predetermined by the Moirae (Fates) and it was impossible for anyone to get more than his ordained part.
Are you trying to get more than your pre-ordained allotment? If so, you will be punished. Perhaps some Americans today really do believe in that ancient dogma... without the goddess imagery to make it feel profound and scarily beautiful.

42 comments:

Wally Kalbacken said...

The song was credited to Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane


What? Like someone else wrote it?

james conrad said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you & your family

DaveW said...

Why do we call it "Christmas Eve Day" instead of just Christmas Eve?

I had EMHC duty at midnight Christmas Eve Mass, so I showed up last night at midnight to an empty church parking lot. And now I have to stay up until midnight again tonight! This sort of thing seems to be happening to me more as I get older.

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone!

marylynn said...

On my way to work - and tomorrow i feed and entertain 30 people, half of whom will leave by 5 for the Packer game - then back to work on Monday. Maybe if i can stay out of the sweets i will lose a pound or two from all the activity. Okay, thats my Christmas wish and i am sticking to it ...
Merry Christmas Everyone, Ann and Meade thank you for this place!

ex-madtown girl said...

Perhaps my favorite Christmas song. I always wanted to wear Judy's (Esther's) dress and cloak (coat? Cape?) from that scene when I was a kid. I remember thinking that the undergarments that went with it were probably fancier than anything I owned as well.

Moose said...

Meade IM'd you? From where - another room in Meadehouse?

Pogo said...

Glad tidings and joy to Meade and Althouse, and all the hillbillies of Althousia.

I am grateful for much in my life; may the next year bring the world nearer to Him in this uncertain hour.

And I'll add Titus here:
Clouds!

Phil 3:14 said...

Merry Christmas.

PS Instead of Greek, I'll take Latin,

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Bill said...

Happy holidays, everyone.

We're also on Night #4 of Hanukkah right now, for all of my Jewish friends.

Hilarious religious story of the year: Fox News trying to make a big deal out of Obama not using "God" in his T-giving address, even though it was in the written one.

caplight45 said...

Some Christian singers have sung it, "If the Lord allows." Always seemed kind of lame to me.

The other day Meade wants to hear confessions, Althouse wants to have confessionals in the streets expiating people of their "secular sins." Now Meade is delving into the theology of the lesser Greco-Roman divinities. I tell you they are starting a cult. This is far more serious than Crack ever imagined.

rosebud said...

"If the Fates allow" permits a true rhyme with "the highest bough" and "Christmas now". "The Lord allows" requires either a near rhyme or rewriting of the lyrics.

Pogo said...

As to the choice of 'Fates' over 'the Lord', well, "the Scriptures teach that the Lord is not too fussy about how clean his tools are".

Jose_K said...

So nobody here is calvinist , predestination, or catholic, the Divine Providence? both can be referd as the fate

Jose_K said...

which is offensive to anyone who believes in the religion of the ancient Greeks.
? not even the greeks believed in their ancient religion. And but for Socrates nobody suffered for mocking it. Homer did it, and from him on every writter did.or you think refering that Zeus were distracted from his duties by Hera with sex was very respectful? or the trap of Afrodite and Ares? or the disguises of Zeus.

Paco Wové said...

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is about as appropriate a song for Christmas as "Every Breath You Take" is appropriate for weddings.

DADvocate said...

Rigid thinking, such as the thoughts on the Fates, indicates possible mental illness. Not to be unexpected. Whole states have lost their minds.

Meade said...

caplight45 said...
" I tell you they are starting a cult. This is far more serious than Crack ever imagined."

That's right, pilgrim.

caplight45 said...

No true Calvinist would use the word fate as a synonym for Divne Providence.

Paddy O said...

Lots of Christmas songs are pagan, nonsensical or heretical.

For instance, Away in a Manger is docetic.

And have you heard a lot of contemporary worship songs? Bad theology abounds.

Indeed, as a theology guy, I've come to the conclusion that only a small percentage of people actually really pay attention to the theology of their given religion in a way that affects their life. Most devotees of a religion really wouldn't be all that different if you put them in the adornments of another religion. Most folks are unintentionally highly syncretic with whatever they want to believe anyhow, and that means for a lot of people, the Fates is just saying explicitly what they're thinking. There's this magical balance, a mix of Karma and capriciousness, that determine our path in this world.

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is wistful tune that people just sing. So, the Fates, and the tree, and all the various remnants from religions gone by join in the choruses celebrating a day in which we're really encouraged to be happy, forget about our woes, and share with each other.

Paddy O said...

Have you heard the one about the the little Lord Jesus and the astrologers?


Well, that one is in the Bible, so I guess it's okay...

m stone said...

caplight: Some Christian singers have sung it, "If the Lord allows." Always seemed kind of lame to me.

Really? The Lord is far more tolerant that I could have imagined. There would be regular incineration on the streets if I were the one.

Nice photo, Paddy O. Like the new look.

edutcher said...

Nice point about the beginning.

Anywho, it's really a depressing little number, if you listen to the lyrics.

Ol' Blue Eyes sang a lot of great Christmas songs, but that wasn't one of them.

The Crack Emcee said...

Perhaps some Americans today really do believe in that ancient dogma...

Perhaps?

Carnifex said...

And prerhaps the believe in "New Age" dogma too, huh Crack :-)

Merry Christmas to the posters of Althouse that ARE Christians. Those of other persuasions, good luck, and have a Happy New Year!

traditionalguy said...

That sounds like Old Age, not New Age.

Keeping the occult traditions straight is never easy.

Christians follow Paul's beliefs that God knows the outcomes of our lives before we are born, but nevertheless lets us play them out ourselves, interfering only when requested to do so.

That is a real mind bender for many. God knows the end from the beginning, and yet He tells us to chose our paths.

Maybe God, like the Professor, just hates boring people doing reruns.

Unknown said...

I have directed an a capella choir for 26 years that, though it is church based, performs at a large number of civic, public school and veterans events each Christmas season. We have always sung "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with the line "if the Lord allows" - even in front of a Democratic and a Republican Governor and once in front of the Secretary of State of the United States - and have never received or heard of any concern or remarks other than how beautiful and touching the performance of the song was.

Much ado about nothing.

Chase said...

I have directed an a capella choir for 26 years that, though it is church based, performs at a large number of civic, public school and veterans events each Christmas season. We have always sung "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with the line "if the Lord allows" - even in front of a Democratic and a Republican Governor and once in front of the Secretary of State of the United States - and have never received or heard of any concern or remarks other than how beautiful and touching the performance of the song was.

Much ado about nothing.

Chase said...

Yes, it was me as "unknown" - stupid new computer loggin . . .

caplight45 said...

Paddy O is very kind. I would simply say that many Christians are functional pagans. That's what keeps me working.

EDH said...

By extension moira was one's portion or part in destiny which consisted of good and bad moments as it was predetermined by the Moirae (Fates) and it was impossible for anyone to get more than his ordained part.

I think that pretty much went out the window with the advent of reality TV.

Chip S. said...

"Christmas Eve Day"??

I believe that the Day of the Night before Christmas is simply the day before Christmas.

Your construction contributes to the growing tendency to treat Dec. 24 as a holiday, making it much tougher for us procrastinators to get our shopping done.

Luckily, the Althouse Amazon Portal knows no holiday.

Happy Double Boxing Day Eve Day, everyone!

deborah said...

One of my favorite Christmas songs.

Chip S. said...

@deborah: Which version?

"hang a shining star upon the highest bough" or "until then we'll have to muddle through somehow"?

Either way, I'm glad that Vincente Minnelli insisted that Hugh Martin change

"It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past"

to "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight"

I like wistfulness, even a tinge of melancholy, but not utter bleakness.

David R. Graham said...

"No true Calvinist would use the word fate as a synonym for Divne Providence."

True, because they are not the same. No Christian would call fate Providence or Providence fate. Fate is closed, fixed, mechanical, "karmic," terrifying. Providence is personal, malleable, decisional in real/historical time,, unexpected, new, helpful, calming, free. Both operate, however, providence (or Providence, either way), alone among operators, can modify, make, deflect, reverse or cancel fate. Fate is zero sum, providence is independent.

Providing evidence verifying that propelled Christianity to dominance in Greco-Roman civilization.

Chip S. said...

Fate is zero sum...

Utterly, transcendentally wrong.

David R. Graham said...

Christianity has ebbed in modern times because yearning for independence has. Not to worry. Islam, submission, has arrived to quench the thirst for dependence.

Christmas is a reminder of the hardships and dangers of life: childbirth, political oppression and exile, mass murder, true homelessness. It's theological, which is to say existential, import is contra Dickensian. The existential companion of Christmas (danger) is the Transfiguration (victory) just as the existential companion of Crucifixion is Resurrection.

In the topographies of life, Christmas and Crucifixion belong together on one pole and Transfiguration and Resurrection belong together on the other. Sliding and bouncing around between these poles, which are dynamic and inseparable, we help enact the drama of life and history.

deborah said...

Chip, I confess I didn't know there were two versions. I thought they were just different verses. But I choose muddle through, as I learned to love it as a kid with the Judy Garland version. But I've been listening to the Sinatra version this year, as it's lighter and less mournful, to me. Yes, 'it may be your last' isn't very hopeful, is it lol.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Still it's better than "Do you hear what I hear" Where the little shepherd boy goes and tells the mighty king about the Birth. The king of Judea at that time was Herod, and we know how well the little shepherd boy passing that news to Herod worked out. Thanks shepherd boy.

caplight45 said...

David@1:09
Thanks. I needed that today.

Patrick said...

Smart Christians realize that Christianity has roots. And that the smart worshipping Greeks realized that the Gods represented aspects of one energy. You'll find it stated that way in their lit. The scope of thinking about God continually evolves in imperfect people.

selworks said...

I'm astonished that none of the comments here mention the wonderful 2 part Mark Steyn podcasts on this song and on Hugh Martin's career. Here's the link:

http://www.steynonline.com/4699/have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas

Listeners will learn that there were four versions of the lyrics, including one entirely Christian version after Martin's becoming a sincere Seventh Day Adventist.

I've always loved the song, with it's Christian/secular, 'merry'/poignant & wistful inherent contradictions. The contradictions seem to go to some of the unspoken elements of contemporary Christmas, at least for me.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm astonished that none of the comments here mention the wonderful 2 part Mark Steyn podcasts on this song and on Hugh Martin's career."

Thanks. I did a Google search about it, but podcasts fly under the radar.