“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Turning to the American Songbook, for the last 70 years, one of the top 10 favorite Christmas secular songs in America is, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” written by Hugh Martin in l943 during the height of World War II for the movie Meet Me in St. Louis. The song hopes that one can have, at least, a “little” Christmas this year, wherever you are, but that will only happen if “the Fates” allow.
Events beyond our control have yanked us out of our pleasant life and now we can only yearn for happier days when our hearts can once again be “light and merry.” The wistfulness and longing in this secular hymn are almost too much to bear, and Judy Garland’s interpretation does little to relieve the heartache of being separated.
But let Martin tell the rest of the story quote “God had to bring it to my attention that I was not all I thought I was. I was suddenly overwhelmed with what a wretch I was. I threw myself on my face and begged the Lord to heal me.” end of quote No more “Fates,” just Jesus! After his decisive conversion to Christianity, Martin did not produce any lasting work of popular merit – except as the music director for the popular Broadway stage production of Sugar Babies in l979 staring the superstar entertainer Mickey Rooney, who had also became a Christian in later life.
So this Advent season, may your troubles be out of sight, indeed, miles away as you gather with faithful friends to once again have a merry Christmas. And may the “shining star upon the highest bough” represent Jesus the Messiah as your Lord.
This is Bob Case for “Singing in the Shower: The American Songbook and the Church.”
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