Saturday, December 24, 2016


Reflecting on my sometimes long, sometimes short list of completely non-threatening, first world problems, always ranking high on the list is something I'm almost ashamed to admit... almost.

As petty as it may sound, I find it painful when words don't fit in songs using their everyday pronunication. For example, adorable pop kitten Katy Perry's song "Unconditionally" is constructed in such a way that she sings both "uncondi-TION-ally" and "un-CON-ditionally," but never once with the emphasis on the right syllable. Feel free to check it out, but don't mention I sent you.

Meanwhile, on the complete opposite side of this pet peeve, one of the best-used words in music is one we hear a lot at the time of year: Noel. If you like, go listen to a quality recording of "The First Noel" and try not to be impressed by the ease with which that one word manages to rise and fall both reverently and majestically.

"Noel" is a French word borrowed by us English folk to mean "a Christmas carol," and hark the herald angels it was. I guarantee the musical ease of "The First Carol" would leave much to be desired. But the truth is "Noel" is even older than that and can be further traced to its Latin root "natalis," meaning "birth."

Now I know 2016 wasn't an easy year for a lot of us, and not in a Katy Perry song type way. In fact, as I think about some of the people that might read this, 2016 sucked pretty hard. (Sorry for the language, Grandma...)

To any of you that may be suffering, please know my heart and thoughts have been with you. I know pain is real, and I stand with you in it, knowing you'd do the same for me. Even when words don't quite fit the songs we're trying to sing, I believe there are always better days ahead, in the journey as much as the destination. The only requirement is we keep moving forward. May that be the gift we give ourselves this Christmas: the gift of moving forward.

And maybe one other... I invite you to take a moment this holiday season and sing "Noel." Not just because it's Christmas, and certainly not because it marks the end of 2016, but because it might be the birth of something new.

Happy Holiday,

Jeffrey Scott Parsons