Lyric of the Day: Dave Matthews

Last year I explained my slightly complicated relationship with Christmas, so you won’t find me complaining that holiday songs have been streaming through our house pretty much non-stop for the past few weeks.

I’m a real sucker for traditional carols or jazzy songs like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, but I don’t really care for many of the contemporary additions to the repertoire.

That said, there’s one contemporary song that really moves me — Dave Matthews’ Christmas Song.

Now, I’m no Christian, but I do appreciate some of the messages Christianity brings. And to me, those enduring messages, messages that transcend humanity’s often flawed attempts to live by and share those messages, are beautifully captured in Dave Matthews’ telling of the Christmas story.

Simply put, the message that I most connect with is the message of love, and it is this love — the love of Mary for Joseph and vice versa, the love of the wise men for the baby Jesus, the unconditional love Jesus had for the “less than refutable” Mary Magdalene and his disciples: gamblers and robbers, drinkers and jokers — that Matthews weaves into the heart of the song. The refrain toward the end — Father up above, why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love — always makes me choke up, a stark reminder of just how difficult it can be sometimes to sustain love, so difficult that even Jesus famously asked why he was so forsaken.

She was his girl; he was her boyfriend
She’d be his wife and make him her husband
A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling dribbling baby boy
The wise men came, three made their way
To shower him with love
While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own
He met another Mary who for a reasonable fee,
less than reputable was known to be.

His heart full of love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

When Jesus Christ was nailed to his tree
Said “oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be
I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene
Instead I fear I’ve spilled the blood of our children all around”

The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children’s all around

So I’m told, so the story goes
The people he knew were
Less than golden hearted
Gamblers and Robbers
Drinkers and Jokers, all soul searchers
Like you and me
Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be
For his deviations
Taken into custody
By the authorities less informed than he.
Drinkers and Jokers all soul searchers
Searching for love love love
Love love love
Love love was all around

Preparations were made
For his celebration day
He said “eat this bread and think of it as me
Drink this wine and dream it will be
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children’s all around
The blood of our children all around

Father up above, why in all this anger do you fill
Me up with love, love, love
Love love love
Love love was all around
Father up above, why in all this hatred do you fill
Me up with love, fill me love love love
Love love love
all you need is love
you can’t buy me love
Love love love
Love love
And the blood of our children’s all around

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