That's the real meaning of Christmas: the birth of a savior and the promise of eternal salvation. Yet in these postcapitalist times, when purchasing vast quantities of worthless junk to relieve seasonally affected emotional disorders is socially compulsory, contemporary Christmas celebrations sometime seem utterly incommensurate with the holiday's spiritual significance. Jesus would weep.
And the situation's just as bad in contemporary Christmas music. Consider some of postwar America's contributions to that magnificent canon. Instead of another Christmas Oratorio or Messiah, we get "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Bach and Handel would weep.
St. Andrew's, the Episcopal church on Division just north of Huron, knows the real meaning of Christmas. In its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols — held this year on Sunday, December 17 — the St. Andrew's adult and junior choirs, the St. Dunstan's Bell Choir, and, at appropriate points, the entire congregation become wholehearted participants in a communal retelling of the story of salvation through scriptural readings and carols from the rich repertoire of Anglican sacred music.