Christmas music is contentious in our household. My wife loves it so much that until recently it was not unusual in our home to hear it pretty much any time of the year. It all came to a head a couple of years ago, when coming into the house on a very warm sunny July afternoon I heard the strains of 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' drifting from the lounge. Later that evening I gathered all the Christmas CDs from the storage rack and sneakily hid them away in the attic. A couple of weeks later when my act of cunning was discovered, I promised to reveal the hiding place - but only on 1st December! Now it is generally agreed that waiting until the appointed time, and the opening of the first window on the Advent calendar, makes the wait all the more worth it.
So... what a dilemma I faced when Bob Dylan decided to release his Christmas album 'Christmas in the Heart' in mid-October! I openly admit that my increasing fanaticism around Dylan has rendered my ears incapable of hearing anything negative in his music (except perhaps Self-Portrait), so the quality of the actual renditions of the Christmas songs was not something I was concerned about. My key difficulties were how was I going to 1. find a way to persuade my wife that that the £8.95 was worth spending on pre-ordering the item, so it would arrive on release day; 2. listen to it immediately and not wait until 1 December; and 3. avoid my listening to it before the appropriate time becoming a 'free for all' on all Christmas music before the 1 December deadline.
Well, here's what happened. Firstly, I pre-ordered the album without telling my wife. This was truly justified because I didn't buy it for myself - it was a loving gift from husband to wife. Secondly, on it's arrival, allowing my wife to rip open the package I spontaneously swiped it from her hands and declared - 'I know it's early but because you love Christmas music so much I think we should put it on now, what do you think?'. Of course she consented. And so Bob was slipped into the CD player, the volume turned up and Christmas came to our household in October. And the best thing of all - since all the other CDs are still in the attic well it wouldn't hurt to play Bob's CD again and again and again until they come out on 1st December would it?
Preparing for the next five years of ministry...
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