Haul out the holly
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now
For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute…
American composer and lyricist Jerry Herman passed away three years ago this month, leaving behind many memorable songs. Every December, his song “We Need a Little Christmas” from the 1966 Broadway musical Mame is sung by millions. In the musical, Mame loses her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and sings this song because she and her household “need a little Christmas now” to cheer them up.
While 2022 hasn’t been a “crash,” it probably qualifies as a “bad accident” financially! Many are struggling to make ends meet, millions have lost much of their retirement savings, inflation is at record levels, the deficit is out of control. Add to this burgeoning crime, loss of faith in our judicial system, mass confusion over gender and sexuality and marriage in our culture, and simmering unrest around the world, and I’d say we need a little Christmas, right this very minute!
Herman’s famous song mentions all the trappings of Christmas: Holly, trees, stockings, candles, carols, snow, lights, fruit cake (yuk), Santa, and tinsel – the only thing missing is presents, right? Wrong! What is glaringly missing from this lovely song is the single reason Christmas is special, and why we really all ‘need a little Christmas’ not just this year, but every year: It’s because of Who was born on the first Christmas.
If Christmas ever gets reduced to just a “Winter Festival” as some are trying to do, it will lose all its power to bring hope and joy into a world full of despair and misery. We can conjure up all the hoopla and merriment possible, but if at the end of the day it’s just an excuse to drown out our emptiness and aimlessness for a day, it will amount to nothing. The wonder that beckons to us at Christmas is the idea that God’s Son arrived on the scene to save us 2000 years ago.
As a Christian, I resonate with Herman’s lyrics near the end of his famous song:
For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder
Grown a little sadder, grown a little older
And I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder
Need a little Christmas now
For we need a little music, need a little laughter
Need a little singing ringing through the rafter
And we need a little snappy, happy ever after
We need a little Christmas now
To borrow from C. S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in this world we get too much winter, and not enough Christmas. Events of this year may have made you feel a little leaner, colder, and sadder. We need a reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.
So relish in the birth of the Savior! Recall the prophets of old who foretold the coming of the Messiah. Remember the angels announcing the birth to Mary, and Joseph, and the shepherds. Let the lyrics of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night” reignite the wonder of the night that changed the course of all human history, when God became man! Because we really do need a little Christmas, right this very minute!