I probably sound like a Scrooge. “No Christmas music!” My wife buys a few gifts and wants to wrap them. Can a person wrap Christmas presents without Christmas music? Of course not! Still, she won’t be able to do it without disapproving shakes of the head from her husband. My children want to play some of those wonderful familiar songs off of our computer. “Nope!” I say with all the authority and grumpiness of a Dickensonian money-lender.
“What’s your beef with Christmas music? I thought you were a Christian!” No, you’ve got me wrong. I don’t hate Christmas music. I actually love Christmas music. Growing up in church and listening to beloved carols sung is one of my fondest and warmest memories. I love when our families go caroling. I am excited when our church starts to sing these songs again. I will play Christmas music all day long.
As long as it is after Thanksgiving.
Yes, I know. That line is imaginary. But I feel that it’s appropriate. I would even be OK with pushing it back to the 1st of December, or further. But I have good reasons for wanting to wait to listen to Christmas music. Four, to be exact.
First, Christmas is one day a year. It’s only the 25th of December. Yes, there’s a song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but Christmas itself is only one day. It’s not 25 days, but we’ve stretched it out way past December (Looking at you, Walmart. I saw those decorations in October. Shame.) This is a fairly new phenomenon. Not that long ago, Christmas wasn’t even celebrated by most in America. To Christians, Easter was the biggest holiday, yet Christmas has largely overshadowed that. Christmas is nice, but can’t we confine it a little closer to Christmas day? We don’t need to have a Month of Christmas.
Second, Christmas being one day a year is part of what makes it so special. No one celebrates Tuesday. When we stretch Christmas out, we are taking away the uniqueness of that wonderful holiday. Let me illustrate. Every year, my wife makes a peanut butter pie for Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite pie, hands down. I could eat it every week. Or could I? When I eat the last bite of my last slice of peanut butter pie, I savor it, because I know I won’t eat it until next Thanksgiving. Scarcity breeds sentiment. When we have Christmas music going all year long, it makes Christmas feel less special.
Third, I love Christmas music so much that I never want to get sick of it. We in America are bored easily, and yet we are also good at over-indulging. Have you ever binged on something, and then said, “Whoa! Not for a while now!” You should. Things are meant to be enjoyed, not consumed without recognition of their worth. Sometimes four ounces of coffee sipped slowly is better than thirty-six ounces gulped greedily. What if some terrorist kidnapped me and made me eat peanut butter pie every day? Not only would I balloon to 400lbs., but it would not be special anymore. I maybe would not want to see a peanut butter pie ever again. There is a danger that my kids would not want to listen to Christmas music before Christmas even came, just because they’d over-listened to it. So I tell them they have to wait, so that they still love Christmas songs as much as I do.
Fourth, when we have Christmas music going all the time, it can detract from the message of the songs. It’s at this point in this article that I will tell you that the Christmas music playing at my house isn’t “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” or “Jingle Bell Rock.” There are a few of those songs that creep onto some of our albums, but we tend to skip those. My favorite Christmas carol is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The words and doctrine preach the Good News that Jesus came to die for sinners: “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth!” I don’t know if anyone’s been saved by listening to a Christmas song, but they should. These words are important, and I don’t want the special feelings of Christmas to overshadow the fact that Christmas is not about the feelings, but about Christ. When we feel more after Christmas than Christ, isn’t that a little like idolatry? Maybe a lot like idolatry? I want to wait to listen to Christmas songs so that my family doesn’t only associate these great hymns with presents and the wonderful warmth of Christmas.
Now, maybe I haven’t convinced you that I really do love Christmas music. If not, let me put those fears to rest by giving you a few links to places you can listen to Christmas music online:
(Now that it’s after Thanksgiving)