Back when I sang hymns, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was by far my favorite. Maybe I was a gloomy, glowering child, but I liked the haunting advent melody much better than I ever did any of the garish Christmas Day songs (not least because they make sopranos so damn smug. There have to be some altos in heaven, right?). And besides, prisoners, exile, and lamentation are way more fun.
I know this is a science fiction review site, but ’tis the season, after all. And since it’s almost December, it’s time for the 2nd Annual Countercultural Christmas posts! Last year, you may recall, I laid out my reasons for not misleading my hypothetical future children into believing that a magical obese man will break into our house on the night of December 24– see: Natural Skeptics, Kids and the Santa Myth.
This year’s even better!
I’ve recently discovered in the blogosphere a fellow who, while less jolly than Santa Claus, is much more musical: “Atheist Advent” writes a song a day during the Advent season just for those who aren’t so into the Christ part of Christmas. “Advent songs on a godless guitar,” as the motto goes. Or in his own eloquent words:
I don’t want to cast bitter disillusion over the Advent season. The iron dustbin lid of winter, as it slams across this pole, does a better job of this than any human can. How I wish I was in Australia! –But I might as well wish to be in another solar system.
Atheist Advent is this: Me writing a song each day about the things that are on my mind as the solstice approaches. And if any of them are any good, and if anyone listens to them and likes them, that is a greater present than Santa Claus, mumbling incoherently into his yellow beard, and grinding the cracked paint of his blackened sledge, could ever heave down my chimney.
Listening to some of the songs from 2009’s Xmas season, I’m already enjoying them. This holiday season, the Scattering will have some new songs to sing while the fam goes to church.