I can't listen to John Denver without weeping. His voice is so lovely, and his lyrics are so moving. I can't listen without bawling and having some kind of emotional seizure. Rocky mountain high indeed!
Except for one song. One song in particular always left me a bit uncomfortable, nigh perhaps even a little miffed.
It was from the Christmas album he did with the Muppets. The song was Alfie the Christmas Tree. Actually it wasn't the song that bothered me, it was always the poem that preceded the little ditty. The poem goes like this:
Did you ever hear the story of the Christmas tree
Who just didn’t want to change the show
He liked living in the woods and playing with squirrels
He liked icicles and snow
He liked wolves and eagles and grizzly bears
And critters and creatures that crawled
Why bugs were some of his very best friends
Spiders and ants and all
Now that’s not to say that he ever looked down
On a vision of twinkled lights
Or on mirrored bubbles and peppermint canes
And a thousand other delights
And he often had dreams of tiny reindeer
And a jolly old man in a sleigh
Full of toys and presents and wonderful things
And a story of Christmas day
Oh, Alfie believed in Christmas alright
He was full of Christmas cheer
All of each and every day
And all throughout the year
To him it was more than a special time
Much more than a special day
It was more than a special story,
It was a special kind of way
You see some folks have never heard a jingle bell ring
And they’ve never heard of Santa Claus
They’ve never heard the story of the son of god
That made Alfie pause
Did that mean that they’d never know of peace on earth
Or the brotherhood of man
Or know how to love, or know how to give
If they can’t no one can
You see, life is a very special kind of thing
Not just for a chosen few
But for each and every living, breathing thing
Not just me and you
So when you’re at Christmas prayers this year
Alfie asked me if I’d ask you
Say a prayer for the wind and the water and the wood
And those who live there too.
Okay, allow me to explain myself. I was always upset by this poem because I thought, at one point in time, that it insinuated that those who hadn't heard the Christmas story didn't know how to love. I mean he said it, right there in the poem.
BUT, on the way home from work this morning I had an epiphany. The words that follows his question are very simple. "If they can't, no one can." All these years I was caught up on the implication that those who have never heard of Jesus can't possibly be able to love, but all this time he was saying, yes they can and do. I was wrong. There I said it. I was wrong. He was right and I despised this beautiful poem for nothing all these years. He follows this with idea with a simple song:
It's in every one of us, to be kind.
Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know everything, without ever knowing why.
It's in every one of us, by and by.
God bless you Mr. Denver. And Goddess bless you as well. It IS in every one of us. Regardless of our faith or beliefs. We can be kind. We can be good. We can love and be caring and know of the brotherhood of man without being indoctrinated into any kind of faith or dogma. Love is in the human heart by nature. So say a prayer for the wind, the woods, and those who live there too.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanuka. Blessed Solstice.