The Admission’s Free

concert-ticket

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 2:7

Welcome to my Christmas song
I’d like to thank you for the year
So I’m sending you this Christmas card
To say it’s nice to have you here
I’d like to sing about all the things
Your eyes and mind can see
So hop aboard the turntable
Oh step into Christmas with me

Yup, that’s right and we’ve all heard this story a million times. There was no friendly greeter hanging outside the inn on that December night, nobody with a welcoming wave. Just a door slammed tight and nowhere to turn for Mary, Joseph and their new baby boy.

As my pastor, the Reverend Bryant Wright often says; Jesus was welcomed to this earth with a “No Entry” sign and laid to rest in a tomb with a “No Exit” sign. How’s that for a bit of Christmas cheer?

Step into Christmas
Let’s join together
We can watch the snow fall forever and ever
Eat, drink and be merry
Come along with me
Step into Christmas
The admission’s free

There was no offer of food or drink on this first Christmas Day and certainly no free rooms. And though some translations of the verses describing the scene in Bethlehem seemed quite comfy; the soft swaddling clothes and the quaint little manger, the truth was far harsher. More likely, it was a dirty feeding trough and a smelly shed with a dirt floor and holes in the walls big enough for a cat to jump through.

Take care in all you do next year
And keep smiling through the days
If we can help to entertain you
Oh we will find the ways
So merry Christmas one and all
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than asking you if you’d oblige
Stepping into Christmas with me

But the good news is that the gift-giving began soon afterwards and rolls merrily on every year since. The wise men who came following the star were smart enough to come bearing earthly gifts fitting for a King. Little did they know that the real gift was coming to them from the heavenly realm. And this gift was freely given not only to those wise men, but to all mankind smart enough to seek Him.

Step into Christmas
Let’s join together
We can watch the snow fall forever and ever
Eat, drink and be merry
Come along with me
Step into Christmas
The admission’s free
Oh oh oh
La la la la

Elton John, while surely not a highly religious man (check out my earlier post  A Pauper To A Pawn) has demonstrated a strong reverence for God and Jesus nonetheless. Many of his early songs have significant spiritual references – though in fairness we must recognize the lyrical genius of Bernie Taupin in this regard – and at the end of his most successful year to date as a recording artist, he decided to produce a musical Christmas card for his fans.

Welcome to my Christmas song
I’d like to thank you for the year
So I’m sending you this Christmas card
To say it’s nice to have you here
I’d like to sing about all the things
Your eyes and mind can see
So hop aboard the turntable
Oh step into Christmas with me

“Step Into Christmas” was released in late November of 1973, on the heels of his albums, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player (“Crocodile Rock”, “Daniel” and “Teacher, I Need You”) in January and then the landmark Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in October. And like the proverbial “cherry on top”, it quickly rose to #1 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart.

Step into Christmas
Let’s join together
We can watch the snow fall forever and ever
Eat, drink and be merry
Come along with me
Step into Christmas
The admission’s free

A few interesting notes about “Step Into Christmas”:

  • It was written and recorded in just a few short hours on a Sunday morning in London’s Trident Studios.
  • The song appeared as a standalone single, on the Elton John’s Christmas Party lp and as a bonus track on the 1995 re-issue of Caribou and two different vocal versions of the song exist.
  • Elton and Bernie were big fans of legendary producer Phil Spector’ girl groups of the early 60’s and his famed “Wall Of Sound” recording technique. “Step Into Christmas” was intentionally produced by Gus Dudgeon – at Elton and Bernie’s request – to imitate that sound. Castanets included!

I’ve always loved the slow and stirring Christmas songs like the Eagles “Please Come Home For Christmas” and Bing’s “White Christmas”, but, like Elton and Bernie, I’m a big fan of the “girl group” Christmas stuff too.

So, take a minute out of the busy days leading up to the big day and step  into this uplifting Christmas card message from Elton, Dee, Davey and Nigel to help get you into the true Christmas spirit!

Sources for this post include:

 

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