April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Idina Menzel’s New Holiday Song Reminds Us to Be Accepting, and It’s Perfect

Most people these days know Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen and, of course, the recent sequel, Frozen 2.

I do love her as Elsa, but Idina has kind of been my musical soul sister for as long as I can remember. She originated famous Broadway roles like Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked. You might also remember her from Enchanted, another Disney movie in which, oddly, she did not sing, and the hit TV show Glee.

Like many powerhouse singers, Idina has recorded holiday music over the years. Her songs have been some of my go-to choices for music during “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Idina Menzel's New Holiday SongBut it’s a song on Idina’s current holiday release, Christmas: A Season of Love, that is giving me all the feels. The album’s got lots of the standard festive tunes, done in a jazzy, big band style. But the one that brings me to tears is an original holiday song co-written with Jonas Myrin.

With “At This Table,” Idina shows us what it means to be truly accepting. She creates an inclusive table where “everyone is welcome,” “everyone is seen,” “everybody matters” and “no one falls between.”

The lyrics are stunning, describing a table where “you can say whatever” and “you can speak your mind.” It’s a table where “everything’s forgiven” because “there’s enough for everyone.” It’s a table where “there will be no judgment” and where “mercy has a seat.”

And if the lyrics weren’t perfect enough, there’s also a video.

It begins with Idina and her guests entering a dining room, decorated with glistening Christmas trees. Carrying food to share, the table mates are of different ages, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. A few of their accessories illustrate their diversity: a cowboy hat, a hijab and a wheelchair.

After the guests take their seats, some of them enter into what appears to be intense conversation. Idina leaves her chair at the head of the table and reminds her friends of the power of forgiveness. The guests then begin enjoying a meal, openly sharing the offerings they brought. They eat the food on the table and clink their glasses together.

There is dancing, smiling, laughing, kissing and holding hands. Fittingly, there is singing, as Idina’s friends mouth the words of her song.

After telling us that “we’re all sons and daughters,” Idina belts out the chorus of “At This Table.” She urges her table guests and her listeners, “Come as you are. Remember that the door is always open… The perfect gift that you could bring is your heart.”

Toward the end of the video, it starts snowing. Inside. At first glance, it seems strange. Why is it snowing in the dining room?

But as the camera pans out, you see that the table is inside a snow globe. I took this to mean that this table — this table where you really can come as you are — is portable. It can happen anywhere. At holiday gatherings all over the world.

After all, Idina does end the song with an invitation: “Come, pull up a chair.”

My children have been listening to this song with me every time it plays in the van. And a few days ago, my 12-year-old son asked, “Couldn’t the table in the song be any table? It doesn’t have to be for a holiday.”

Of course, I agreed.

Thank you, Idina, for showing us what’s possible when we’re welcoming and accepting. Any time of year.

, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *