Christmas is a happy time of year. Vendors of toys and appliances make more money. Children and parents get fine presents. Politicians get more time off from misleading the electorate to have their clandestine affairs, to stick a fork in their district’s or state’s pork, over eat at fund raisers, or meet with their lawyers regarding the above.
Some folks even involve Jesus of Nazareth in the festivities. They’ll put a star on their tree, scatter some angels, shepherds, wise men and a creche beneath it, and play traditional Christmas music. They may find time on Christmas Eve to go to church. Christmas Eve services are always beautiful. Decorations. Holy music. An inspiring message about forgiveness and salvation. It’s always an enjoyable evening. Even if you still have presents to wrap and get under the tree.
When I was teaching a Special Education class in Oxnard, CA one of my greatest difficulties was in removing the stigma of “retarded” and other derrogatory terms and expectations from my principal’s (and others’) mind. I decided to have the children write a song, a new song, for the Christmas assembly. These 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were asked to give me thoughts and ideas about Christmas and I would write them on the board. When we ran out of ideas I asked them to organize the phrases. They put ideas related to presents together, emotions, Jesus, time off from school, etc. in groups. They even organized the mini-events in a chronological order. Shopping, hiding gifts, wrapping them, placing them under the tree, and opening them on Christmas Day.
Once they had everything they wanted, we talked about rhyme and meter. Then we went to work to create a song. When it was finished and the kids were happy with the results, we invited the music teacher (who reluctantly agreed to come once a week to our class) to listen to it. She was amazed and thought that I had written it. I told her I only wrote the melody.
Soon after, we were asked to perform at the Christmas assembly. I introduced the song as something different from the traditional hymns or the more contemporary pop seasonal songs…and that it was written by the children.
When they finished singing they received more applause than any other class. It was a day they earned equality and the respect of those of the school staff who only saw problem children who couldn’t learn or perform.
Christmas Is a Happy Time of Year
Mom is in her room. Thinks I didn’t see her
Up before our parents. Opened up our presents. Wrapping paper, ribbon everywhere. The doorbell rings. “Who is it?” The family’s come to visit. Christmas is a happy time of year. Golden goose for dinner. The apple pie’s a winner. A fireplace and songs we love to hear. A visit from the preacher. Two weeks without the teacher. Christmas is a happy time of year. Christmas is a happy time of year.
Out-of-practice video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rHvDTTORrE