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The Christmas Song-Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire; A Journey to the Celebration

Posted on December 19, 2009. Filed under: Children, Family, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

“The Christmas Song”, a song written in 1944 by Mel Torme and Bob Wells is an old Christmas standby that is more commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.  I guessing that most of you reading this blog has heard this song at some point in their life, probably know the words, and are most familiar with the full orchestra rendition recorded in 1961 by Nat King Cole, although he originally recorded the song in 1946.  The song is a traditional part of many peoples Christmas, and whether you are one or 92, I can not imagine anyone not liking it, as it just seems to capture your heart through the lyrics and the melody of the this classic chorus.  Yes, “The Christmas Song” is one of those traditions that makes you feel like searching for some “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, then bundle up while you watch the snow falling out your living room window, and drink hot chocolate with your loved ones or friends. In case you have forgotten the lyrics to the song, here they are for your enjoyment.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
Help to make the season bright.
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa’s on his way;
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
And every mother’s child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you

Traditions play a big role in our lives during this Christmas holiday season.  As we grow up, our parents instill in us traditions, many times the same practices they learned as children.  Those traditions that we acquired as children are then passed on to our children, although maybe with some modifications.  But, people usually will live and celebrate similarly to how they did when they were children, that is how traditions continue on from generation to generation.  The season of the year from Thanksgiving to New Years is full of traditions in most families as a result of their upbringing, but over time these traditions may change as life itself may dictate change.  I believe it can be a blessing to learn how other people, or even other cultures celebrate and live out the traditions in their lives.  Even if you have never heard “The Christmas Song”, or you have never eaten “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, my hope is that curiosity for something new in your life will spawn an inspiration for trying new things, not being so stuck in your old traditions that you might miss something new and wonderful happening.

Curiosity strikes me as to how many readers today have ever experienced and eaten actual chestnuts roasting on an open fire? If you have please, comment in this blog so that others can participate, in what many have not, an age old tradition of chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  My mother once told me that while she was growing up in New York City, you could buy them from street vendors.  For me, I had only heard about getting chestnuts roasted on an open fire to eat from street vendors, until this one moment in my life, when I was pleasantly surprised to find and experience the taste of chestnuts.  It was in February 1983, I was in Yokosuka, Japan when I came across a vendor selling chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  Well, of course I had to try them, since I had only heard about them in the song.  They were very tasty, as we included something warm to drink while we ate the chestnuts.  Another aspect of the memory was the bitter cold on this February night in Yokosuka, so we warmed ourselves next to the fire pit the man was using to cook the chestnuts, thus adding to our experience.

But, this blog is not just about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but rather a discussion to better understand we all live by and enjoy our traditions, although they may change during our life.  One tradition that changed for me was the tradition of understanding why I should be celebrating during the Christmas season.  When I was younger, I did not realize that we were actually having a birthday party, a birthday party for the creator of the universe.  I always thought it was a holiday to gather together with family and friends to eat, exchange gifts and watch football, which I totally enjoy.  Just like most of you, gathering with people we care for and love, sharing gifts with each other when possible, and sharing a meal together is something I always have and always will cherish.  But as I got older, having children of my own, I enjoyed watching their eyes light up when they opened their presents.  In my mid 30’s, my outlook on Christmas changed as I realized that we were having a birthday party for Jesus.

If celebrating Christmas as a birthday party for the Lord Jesus Christ is not part of your tradition, due to your belief system or understanding of what Christmas is to you, then I encourage you to get a Bible and read through the accounts of Jesus’ life in one of the Gospels, either Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.  Make the decision for yourself if this is a tradition you should change, but I encourage you to think seriously about what the Bible says to us concerning our need for a savior in order to be redeemed and to spend eternity with God the Father when we leave this earth.  But, so you can read about it now, I am including the text from Matthew 1:18-21 (ESV);

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

I know that at times in our life, especially when we get older, it is difficult to change our traditions, because they are what we know, we are comfortable with them, and most of us do not like change.  You may even believe in Jesus, but do not think about Him much, even during Christmas.  My recommendation is for you to evaluate what you believe, and begin to look at things from an eternal and heavenly perspective.  Jesus came to this world 2000 plus years ago to save us, now let us celebrate His birthday in style.  Spend time between now and Christmas day thinking about why you celebrate Christmas, who is this day really for, and go enjoy “The Christmas Song” too.  If you know I can find chestnuts roasting on an open fire here in the Phoenix area, please email me and let me know where, I want to start “a new tradition”.

May God bless you and may you enjoy your traditions this holiday season,

Daryl Dho

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