Terry and I generally get our Christmas tree around the third Sunday of Advent, as we did this year. One of our traditions is that we put up the tree to the sound of “Need a Little Christmas.” But the version we play is different from most others. It was done by Alliance, a musical group of three gay men in the late 1980’s, two of whom were lost to AIDS in the ensuing years. Perhaps in deference to the epidemic, the song does not start out with an upbeat “Haul out the holly…” but rather with a slower, almost somber tone, that calls out the words:
For we’ve grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,
And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now.
Only then does it shift into the traditional upbeat rhythm. I find this version somehow appropriate. It reflects on our mortality for a moment, but then shifts into a joyful celebration of the season.
But wait. Whatever version, “Need a Little Christmas” on Advent 3? I would be drummed out of the corps of the Advent police for that, wouldn’t I?
Well, so be it. I can handle that.
Listen to the Alliance version. You’ll want to turn up the volume, as this was recorded at a fairly low level.