My Favorite Christmas Song

Christmas Day 2020

. Back before religious observance, Bible reading and prayers were banned from public school classrooms, I sat silently and self-consciously in music class at Ashland School in East Orange, NJ, as everyone sang, “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,”, “The First Noel,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and several other carols with an overtly Christian message.

My discomfort in music class at this time of year not withstanding I have always appreciated the beauty of Christmas music.

 Performing “O Holy Night” at the annual East Orange High School Christmas concert was called “the honor solo.” I understand that a couple of years before I arrived Marie Dionne Warrick, later to adopt the name Dionne Warwick, had that honor.

Yes, many of the religious Christmas Carols are hauntingly beautiful and inspiring. With no disrespect to any of them, though,  my favorite Christmas song today is not a brilliant musical composition, but a catchy tune, a top ten pop hit in 1967, with a message that sends goosebumps down my back every time I hear it: “Snoopy’s Christmas,” by the Royal Guardsmen.

The song echoes the theme articulated by the eighth pre-Christian century prophets, Isaiah and Micah who dreamed of world where, “they shall not hurt or destroy in all My Holy Mountain … where they shall beat their swords into plowshare and study war no more, where everyone shall sit under his/her vine and fig tree with non to make them afraid.”

Many of the Carols mentioned above beautifully offer that message, but the image of two sworn enemies laying down their arms, perhaps only for a day, resonates with me in a very special way.

And so, to my Christian friends celebrating today, I wish you every blessing and the realization of every hope that the Story of Jesus’ birth evokes for you. And I pray that one day, the “Christmas Bells” will indeed bring “peace to all the world and good will to man,” not just on this day but every day.

Snoopy’s Christmas (1967), The Royal Guardsmen

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
Do kannst mir sehr gefallen! 

The news had come out in the First World War 
The bloody Red Baron was flying once more 
The Allied command ignored all of its men 
And called on Snoopy to do it again

Was the night before Christmas, 40 below 
When Snoopy went up in search of his foe 
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought 
With ice on his wings Snoopy knew he was caught

Christmas bells those Christmas bells 
Ring out from the land 
Asking peace of all the world 
And good will to man 

The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights 
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight 
Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know 
Or was it the bells from the village below?

Christmas bells those Christmas bells 
Ringing through the land 
Bringing peace to all the world 
And good will to man 

The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine 
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines 
Snoopy was certain that this was the end 
When the Baron cried out, “Merry Christmas, mein friend!” 

The Baron then offered a holiday toast 
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host 
And then with a roar they were both on their way 
Each knowing they’d meet on some other day

Christmas bells those Christmas bells 
Ringing through the land …

3 thoughts on “My Favorite Christmas Song

  1. Dear Rabbi Fuchs:

    It is, indeed, beautiful art with very beautiful message.

    Thank you, Rabbi Fuchs, for sharing with us, and so beautifully reminding us of our roots ( ❤ ).

    Genuinely and always,
    Mark

    Like

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