My favorite Christmas song that is not religious and not about the general wonder of Winter (as in "Jingle Bells," "Sleigh Ride" and "Winter Wonderland") is "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
The story of this song is almost as spectacular as the Virgin Performance of it by Judy Garland in the film "Meet Me In St. Louis" directed by her then-husband Vincent Minnelli.
In the movie, Judy's character Ester, is consoling her 5-year-old sister, Tootie, played by Margret O'Brien, on Christmas Eve because their family is moving from their beloved home in St. Louis to New York City and will not experience the comforts of Middle American 'home & hearth' again.
Original lyrics to the song were deemed too depressing:
"Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last/ Next year we may all be living in the past / Have yourself a merry little Christmas / Pop that champagne cork / Next year we may all be living in New York." (Martin, Hugh (2010). The Boy Next Door. Trolley Press. pp. 196-197. ISBN 978-0-615-36507-7.)
So Hugh Martin changed the lyrics to make them more upbeat:
"It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" became "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight" (Willman, Chris (2006-12-22). "There's Something About Merry". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-12-21.)
But, when Frank Sinatra decided to record it for his Christmas Album he asked for even more changes to make it "happier." And it's this set of lyrics that really changes the meaning of the song:
"Next year all our troubles will be out of sight."
Was changed to:
"From now on our troubles will be out of sight."
"Until then, we'll have to muddle through, somehow."
Was changed to:
"Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."
This changed a song encouraging those we love to enjoy the moment in spite of the present tough times to a glorious salutation to a loved one for Christmas. But the powerful intent of acknowledging the pain that people are in THIS Christmas and the HOPE of a better Christmas Next Year was "lost in translation" with the new, 'happy' lyrics that almost every performer has sung in records.
A number of American Pop singers have alternately sung both sets of lyrics, from Ella Fitzgerald to Frank Sinatra. Recently a wonderful recording of the song by Bette Midler did a wise thing. Since the refrain is repeated twice, she sang BOTH sets of lyrics AS one song, satisfying everyone and changing the meaning of the song entirely. This performance by The Divine Miss M transforms the song and surpasses the intent of even the songwriter, who changed the song AGAIN to try to make it more religious, rewording the lyrics in the 1990's (which never caught on).
Now, one may ask what all of this has to do Astrology?
Well. We're in a new age. And we're working with old materials that have been written, RE-Written, interpreted, fought over and used and misused for all types of purposes and intents. Bette Midler did something that no one else thought of: She said to herself, "This is not an either/or song. This is a BOTH/AND SONG." She took these found materials and made an assemblage that is greater than the sum of its parts.
And that's what we have the opportunity to do with Astrology. We can mark up the old, we can read or write the RE-Write…and we can then toss it all out or put it all together as a New and Transformed Thing that is greater than what we could've previously imagined. Indeed, there IS a difference between a Christmas present and a Christmas Gift. This is true in Life as much as it's true at Christmas. Putting them together, we experience an Offering beyond our wildest dreams.
The Meditation for Today, Thursday, the 25th of December, 2014 is: