Measured Extravagance

2000-12-12 - 12:22 a.m.

Christmas carols are like vegetables: it's a matter of taste, and one's likes and dislikes can be absurdly passionate without being in the least rational. A light touch or complete immersion can aid digestibility, but some reactions prove impervious to good intentions or repeated exposure. So yes to soybeans and Brussels sprouts, but no to water chestnuts and celery. I'll happily yodel through all five verses of "Good King Wenceslas" on the back of a motorcycle speeding through Mississippi in March, but "Silent Night" gives me hives no matter sleepy, heavenly or peaceful the venue. "In Dulci Jubilo" makes my heart open with yearning, but "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" leaves the same heart silently coiled tight. I can't abide the Coventry Carol, but the Westminster Carol sets me soaring. I don't warm to "The Christmas Song" in the least, but I've loved "The Peace Carol" from the very first time I heard John Denver and Scooter sing it togetherů

The branch that bears the bright holly
The dove that rests in yonder tree
The light that shines for all to see
The peace of Christmas Day

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