Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Where's Christ In Our Christmas Songs?

Now that we are well into December, I actually like listening to Christmas music. (Try playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving around me and you're likely to be on the receiving end of a nasty stare, a snarl, and possibly even a disgruntled grunt.)

We were listening to the radio station that plays nothing but Christmas music in the mini-van the other day, and it started to strike me how so many of the Christmas songs have absolutely no mention of the birth of Christ.

There's a lot of Santa and bells and snow and Rudolph and sleighs and winter and such, but Baby Jesus is fairly scarce.

We wish you a Merry Christmas! (Even if you are in Tijuana.)
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and there are plenty of songs about that. Baby, it's cold outside when you're walking in a winter wonderland, going on sleigh rides, and making snowmen. Sometimes those snowmen come to life. (And sometimes we pretend those snowmen are Parson Brown and we ask them to perform marriages for us.)

There are plenty of songs about Santa and how he is coming to town. How he doesn't like pouting. How he watches us when we sleep. There's even a song ("Santa Baby") where a woman apparently tries to seduce Santa into giving her very expensive gifts. (This song gets waayyyy too much air time.)

There are songs about bells. Jingle bells and silver bells and sleigh bells and here come the bells, here come the bells, so many bells, so many bells!

Then there's "Last Christmas," in which a woman breaks up with a guy on December 26th, and a year later he is still obsessing over her and singing about it. (Dude, I think it's time to move on.)

Finally, there's even a song in which figgy pudding is demanded! (And bring it right now!)

Mentions of the Baby Jesus are few and far between. In fact, in December of 2014 the website fivethirtyeight.com did a feature about the songs with the most air-time on Christmas radio stations, and absolutely NONE of the 20 most-played songs mentioned Christ!

Oh, sure, if you listen to Christmas radio you'll occasionally hear a "Silent Night," or "Oh, Holy Night." Maybe a "Joy to the World" or "Away In a Manger" might slip through.

But, the fact remains that a very large percentage of Christmas songs played on the radio have absolutely nothing to do with Christ.

What can we do about it? I'm not really sure. I guess it wouldn't hurt to call the radio stations and request more Christ-centered Christmas music. But, with all of their automated playlists and algorithms, I'm not sure it would do any good, either.

Maybe the best we can do is keep singing the real Christmas songs. Every time you hear "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," follow it up with "O Come All Ye Faithful." After each "All I Want For Christmas Is You," let's hear a "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." For every "Chipmunk Song" let's get "The First Noel." Each "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" could be followed by a "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." And, every time you hear about how bad Batman smells and Robin lays eggs, give 'em some "Angels I Have Heard On High."

Look, I like crooning along with Dean Martin when he sings "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" as much as the next guy. And there's nothing wrong with that. I just think that we should also occasionally remember that "it is the night of our dear Savior's birth."

A few "Hallelujahs" and "Hosannas" never hurt anyone.

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