Do you know what I know (that this song was written by a UU)?

One of Christmas Spirit Fail’s least favorite mainstream seasonal songs–it always gets a thumbs-down when it pops up, whac-a-mole style, on our Pandora channels–is the cloying “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (Special bonus bad points when sung by Carrie Underwood below, although this song has been covered by everybody, and we do mean everybody, from St. Bing to Kenny G to Rosie O’Donnell and Elmo.)

We were always a little skeptical of this song’s rather impressionistic narrative of–maybe?–the birth of the Christ Child, with the shepherds somehow bringing the news to Herod, who welcomes the arrival of the child, the child, who will bring goodness and light.

Turns out the narrative is inspired more by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the lyricist’s desire for world peace than by Matthew or Luke. Add to this that the composer–the lyricist’s husband at the time–was a Unitarian Universalist and this Christmas spirit fail suddenly makes a lot more sense.

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