Christmas: Saturday Night versus Sunday morning live

I’m not a HUGE Christmas nut. I don’t start fantasizing about the holiday in July; I don’t listen to carols in October; I don’t decorate before Thanksgiving. (My husband’s the one chomping at the bit about those things before Thanksgiving rolls around.) But that doesn’t mean Christmas doesn’t mean something to me. I have good memories of the holiday growing up, involving family, gifts, and treats, among many other things. Especially, I like to remember the significance of why we celebrate: Christ. I’m a Christian, and I love the spiritual messages that remind me of Him during this season. At the same time, I have nothing against Santa and the commercial stuff that’s not exclusively centered on Christ. It’s fine to enjoy all the other trappings of the holiday, too.

I don’t even have a problem with people who aren’t Christian celebrating the holidays in general, all the trappings but not Christ. That’s fine.

martin shortBut I’ll draw the line at what I saw last night on TV: I happened to have the set on when Saturday Night Live came on, and it showed Martin Short hosting. That, I thought, was worth my time watching for a while to see what he would say and do. He’s done and said some very funny things in the past, so it was fun to see him again.

Honestly, though, he did almost nothing to make me laugh. He was straining. Then he mentioned that “a lot of babies are conceived at Christmas.” OK. Fine. But then, rather than moving on, he and the SNL cast turned that into a huge production number. The tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was turned into a crass and completely tasteless number about sex, and Short used lots and lots and lots of synonyms: lascivious, lusty, … well, I don’t really care to think about it anymore. But it went on for four or five minutes, probably. I kept thinking it would end quickly. It didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t turn off the TV sooner than I did. Perhaps it was like a train wreck.

I can’t express how tacky and tasteless and offensive it was. Sure, I expect there to be lots of that kind of thing on SNL. That’s part of why I haven’t watched it regularly since, well … ever. But to hijack Christmas, a day on which as a believer, I do try to remember the Savior of the world, well, I just found this one particularly bad.

It’s all been said before, so nothing I can say here will be new. I just hate to see it happen: the insensitivity of others who would call me intolerant if I were to express my views on subjects they wouldn’t agree with me about, but who have no problem taking a subject I consider deserving of some reverence and respect and just dashing it to pieces with, yes, blasphemy.

Needless to say, I didn’t watch any more of that show. I’m sure the SNL folks won’t care that they missed me. Yes, they have a right to do and sing and say everything they did, but was it right? Was it respectful? Was it tolerant? Me, I’m thinking no.

Contrast that “holiday” scene with the one I encountered today during our church service. Two young men sang, one played cello, a friend played her flute, and another woman played piano, coming together on a simply divine arrangement of “Away in a Manger.” For five minutes, I was entranced, transported, absolutely enchanted. The music truly focused on everything that’s best and most important about Christmas, and it was done so well and with such reverence and care. The feeling in the room was of rapt attention and holiness. I wanted it to go on and on. That was absolutely the spirit of Christmas, and I’ll keep it in my heart a good long while. The several minutes I was held captive (somehow) by Martin Short’s completely non-funny routine are minutes I’m trying to scrub from my memory.

I love to laugh, I love to feel reverence, I love to appreciate talent. Today gave me the opportunity for the second and third, and there will be some other wonderful opportunities in coming days with friends and family to experience the first. I am just sorry that SNL insulted me rather than allowing me to laugh.

Here’s to all the wonderful gifts of the season.

Author: Cathy Carmode Lim

I'm a copy editor, writer, and book reviewer with three decades of experience. My book review website is I'm a mom of four and grandma of three.

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