When you’re on the campaign trail, the December holidays can really sneak up on you. Hanukkah began this week and Christmas is less than two weeks away. I’ve been worrying like so many others: Do I have a gift for everyone? Where did I put the red ribbon? Who is cooking what and where are we going to gather to eat it all?
We are going to try to have a quiet, simple celebration this year. I was so lucky to hear Handel’s “Messiah” recently and the music instantly relieved holiday stress. It was a wonderful production presented by Canterbury Voices and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at the Civic Center. My favorite part is the very beginning, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people…” That clear high recitation always brings a welcome peace and calm to me.
But there is another song, “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” that runs through my mind this time of year, too. It is written and sung by Paul Simon. While the lyrics invoke Christmas, the feelings they inspire are relevant to people of all religions. They convey our longing to provide well for our families, how we are lonely for those who can’t be with us, how we want to remember the real reasons we celebrate.
I can’t sum up my feelings better during the holidays than Simon does in this song. [You can listen on YouTube here — you will love the melody.] So I share his words with you now with sincere wishes that the holiday season brings you peace and joy.
From early in November to the last week of December
I got money matters weighing me down
Oh the music may be merry, but it’s only temporary
I know Santa Claus is coming to town
In the days I work my day job, in the nights I work my night
But it all comes down to working man’s pay
Getting ready, I’m getting ready, ready for Christmas Day
I got a nephew in Iraq it’s his third time back
But it’s ending up the way it began
With the luck of a beginner he’ll be eating turkey dinner
On some mountain top in Pakistan
Getting ready, oh we’re getting ready
For the power and the glory
And the story of Christmas Day
If I could tell my Mom and Dad that the things we never had
Never mattered we were always okay
Getting ready, oh ready, ready for Christmas Day
Ready, getting ready
For the power and the glory and the story of the Christmas Day