Thursday 25 December 2014

The Fairytale of Christmas

It's a strange song, to be sure, is Fairytale of New York. Sounding so jolly, yet with a bitter centre. To the bells of Christmas Day, and a choir singing "Galway Bay", a drunk remembers his row from the previous year with his junkie girlfriend. Happy Christmas, everyone! We're all losers here! Though, at least, there's some consolation in even that.

But there's a promise of reconciliation - of redemption - within the bile at the end.

"I could have been someone." 
"Well so could anyone.
You took my dreams from me, when I first found you." 
"I took 'em with me, babe. I kept 'em with my own.
Can't make it all alone. I've built my dreams around you."
In the smell and noise of the "drunk tank", the aggressive dreamer dreams of the better life he'll have when he's got off the drink and his girlfriend's off the dope. Even when he's lying next to a bloke on his way out, and looking forward to a seriously fuzzy Christmas morning, he knows there's life where there's hope, and hope where there's love.

If you want, then like me you can see that the better time, when all our dreams come true, depends on a baby in a cradle in Bethlehem. He's somewhere in the middle of our modern Christmas, between the tinsel and the Frozen animated models - but he really is in there somewhere if you look. If you're like me, you know that baby is also in the old man dying in a drunk tank, the drunks singing along to Frank Sinatra, and the "old slut on junk, lying there nearly dead". He's down here, sweeping us all up, picking up our weaknesses, sharing our Christmas joys and despair - and giving us all the promise of a better time.

And if you don't believe all that, then it's still the best Christmas song in the world, and the days aren't getting any darker, and though the snow may be yet to come - the darkest of night is over. It's all downhill from here to Summer.  Happy Christmas.

1 comment :

  1. Happy Christmas to you and all the Beaker Folk too.


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