Breeds of Misery: Various stages in the life and death of Christ
Best/Worst Verse: "Father up above, why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love?"
Few Christmas stories are as depressing and sad and hopeful and soul-destroying as the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Like Spotlight on Christmas from last year's Miserable Twelve, this song begins with the incredibly depressing story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as political refugees from the murderous and tyrannical King Herod, lending further support (as if any was necessary) that it is un-Christian to deny sanctuary to Syrian refugees fleeing the murderous and tyrannical Bashar Al-Assad.
No song of the Christ's torment would be complete with the passion; Matthews speculates further on Christ's famous last words while bleeding out from his wrists and feet, "Father why hast thou forsaken me?":
"I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene
Instead I fear I spill the blood of my children all around."
If the story of Christ's birth and death were not enough to solidify the holiday bearing his name as domain of the miserable, he spent his life with the very people populating most of the other songs on this list, "less than golden-hearted drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers." Perhaps it's this search that makes us miserable. If so then suffering on Christmas is ordained, holy, sacred.
(If this isn't enough yuletide misery for you, check out last year in my Annotated Playlists.)