I'm sure all of you are already sick of "Winter Wonderland."
Oddly, I'm not. At least not if I can listen to Bing Crosby sing it instead of somebody less talented. I notice this year, as every year now, one particular line of that song: "Later on we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire, to face unafraid the plans that we made walkin' in a winter wonderland."
Isn't that at least a little bit striking? Why do those plans require "facing unafraid"? Well, they're going to get married. (That's the bit about the snowman and Parson Brown.)
I once tried rather awkwardly, and probably not very convincingly, to explain to an unmarried friend that getting married and, especially, having children, are part of growing up. He was rather offended. He took me to be implying that single people cannot be grown up, which wasn't what I meant.
But getting married and having children are the usual and, relatively speaking, easy ways in which God stretches us. Having a family is leaving oneself open to all manner of pain, grief, and fear, most of which I have thus far been spared, having been given an embarrassingly easy road to tread. But if singleness and loneliness have their own griefs and fears--as they most certainly do--so do marriage and children. In particular, there are the fears for others, the involvement with others, and the sense of responsibility and sometimes of helplessness. Suffering oneself is one thing. Watching one's children or one's beloved spouse suffer or even die must be something else again, and in some ways far worse.
How many young men and nowadays even some young women would rather not even start talking about Parson Brown, much less face that particular plan unafraid? As for children...there's a reason why having children is sometimes called "giving hostages to fortune." As a risk-averse person myself, I'm not just exactly over-fond of being at the mercy of fortune for myself and my loved ones.
So don't knock "Winter Wonderland." Try instead to imagine somebody nowadays writing a song that light, fun, and singable with a zinger line like that right smack in the middle of it.
Oh, and while I'm writing about the Christmas season (yes, I know, it's really Advent), here's a fun video, link courtesy of our own Bill Luse.