The voice: Robie Lester

It all started when I flopped into bed very early on Friday evening. These days, I do my best to sleep unapologetically when sleep is ready to happen – though this can get tricky during a long sermon – and to get up when I feel awake. So, after a solid seven hours on Friday night, I got up at 2 a.m. and went upstairs to sew. The antique Singer handed down from my mother’s aunt, Zona, strategically faces our last remaining non-flat-screen TV, which is connected to our last remaining VCR. By 9 a.m. on Saturday, a new dress was virtually finished and I’d watched the four videotapes represented below.

VHS montage
That Darn Cat, The Glass Slipper, The Farmer’s Daughter, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town


“Christmas in July” again
And now we have the “Christmas in July” tie-in. I love a lot of things about the 1970 production by Rankin Bass, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town: the voices of Mickey Rooney and Fred Astaire, the first names of the Kringle toymakers (Bingle, Dingle, Zingle, Wingle…), and Keenan Wynn, one of my favorite character actors. But, my go-to scene is the music video sequence aptly called “trippy” by one Youtube user. “My World is Beginning Today” is sung by Miss Jessica, the schoolteacher of Sombertown. Robie Lester, who voiced the character, is also credited with writing this song.

A little background on Robie Lester and my envy of beautiful singing voices. In one of the seven original poems I successfully “snuck” into my collection of 366 prayers in Pause: Everyday Prayers for Everyday Women (Revell, 2004), I suggest that “Superwoman” is a soprano soloist while I am merely “an adequate alto in the choir’s second row.” I am so wistful in the presence of a beautiful singing voice like Lester’s. Go to iTunes store and preview the songs that come up with her name. She did a voice in Disney’s The Aristocats and the catchy Siamese cat song in Lady and the Tramp.

I’m not taking space here to provide the lyrics to the song in question, but I invite you to view them here and to listen to the song, complete with “trippy” video, here.

New love; new attitude. The attitude you and I need every morning before our feet hit the floor, “my world is beginning today,” may not be prompted by a newfound love like Jessica’s for Kris Kringle in the fanciful video tale that proposes to “explain” American Christmas traditions.* Even if being in love is a strong energizer currently, a lifelong sense of newness each morning can’t be based on one’s significant other, no matter how wonderful that person is. It just can’t. It must be based on something more permanent.

What relevant insights from this song just now?

For starters, “my” world (as opposed to “the” world) reminds us everyone’s world is different. Life may be wonderful and beautiful to some, terrible to others. To the same person, it may seem scary one day and carefree the next. What each person’s world is like depends on varying circumstances and a few basic truths.

Next, there’s an obvious parallel between spiritual transformation and the song’s message about seeing life with new eyes. 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Old things have passed away; look, all things have become new.” Miss Jessica sings about having walked a certain path for a long time and having never seen “the things I see today.” This is a great exercise to attempt deliberately instead of waiting for a brand new viewpoint to take you by surprise. (You may be waiting a long time for that.) Try closing your eyes and then opening them, pretending you’re seeing your house or your desk or a very familiar person for the first time – as if you’d just awakened from a coma or snapped out of amnesia. My house has clutter I’ve gone “blind” to. I need to see that clutter with fresh, critical eyes so I will be more appalled by it. What do these new eyes see that needs to go? What that needs to stay and be used more and showcased better?

My world is beginning today is a call to action. This is the day the Lord has made. See a place or a person you’re around every day with eyes moved by the heart God wants within you – the heart that’s unselfish, compassionate, shrewd, wise, and… holy. That will give rise to a new attitude that will be so much healthier for you – let alone how it will benefit others!

Little cares, little worries disappearing – don’t we wish?

What a great line in the song, about “the little cares” disappearing with yesterday! If you don’t need a reminder to let the “little” worries go, then congrats. You seem to have 9 toes inside heaven’s gate. The rest of us need reminding that Jesus lovingly told us the Father’s tender care is meant to free us from fearing and fretting about insignificant things. I love on-the-mark lyrics; a very few words aptly assembled: “all the little cares…have disappeared with yesterday.” I wish I’d written that!

And don’t miss the word “picked,” as in the image of bending to pick flowers. The writer seems to suggest that we have the option of walking past worries or of actively stooping to pluck them up and carry them with us. If not a worry “picked” like a flower, then a worry “picked,” as in chosen, by us. Either way, we lose by taking hold of a worry with our own hands. A clever point made in one good word.

Next up, in the conclusion of this post:

  • Things happening that are “out of our hands”
  • Shoving Jesus aside
  • Pretending to be God (in a good way)

 

*Traditions like hanging stockings above the fireplace to be filled with toys. That one is a real “stretch” – and I hope you get that pun if you remember how the cartoon stockings looked when filled, stretched very obviously over the shapes of wooden trains, tops, and such. It’s just silly that the inspectors and the mean, old “Burgermeister Meisterburger” of Sombertown didn’t see that the stockings were hiding illegal toys!

 

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