Christmas Songs

“My favorite radio station has started playing Christmas music. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!”

~a tweet I never got around to actually writing, because this happened on a Sunday morning and Sunday mornings are crazy for me

But seriously. The Sunday before Thanksgiving (it may even have been the Sunday before that?) is way too early to play Christmas music. 

I boycotted the station out of pure irritation. Don’t get me wrong–I love Christmas music. I scoured thrift stores for years for my favorite Christmas CD that we used to play when I was growing up. I love decorating the tree or baking cookies to Christmas music. But in the weeks before Christmas I feel so battered with it that I hate it all. Yes, hate is too strong of a word, but hearing yet more Christmas music walk into a store makes me want to walk right back out again. I want to have about a week of Christmas music right before Christmas, when I’m getting really excited. Otherwise: no, thank you. 

That’s what I’ve always thought. But man, the weeks before Christmas are crazy and exhausting as a pastor. Normally I listen to podcasts when I’m driving, but focusing on words is that last thing I’ve been wanting to do in the care lately. Radio it is. 

There are other stations, of course. But when it’s snowing out, when I’ve spent all day working on Christmas stuff at church, when we’ve just decorated the sanctuary, it feels like Christmas music weather. (Or, let’s be honest, when all the other stations have commercials.)

And then–sure, I groan at my least favorite Christmas songs, and grumble through them–but I enjoy the good ones. And sometimes–sometimes they’ll play a song that brings me to tears. They remind me of what we celebrate at Christmas, of what we’re preparing for this Advent. They remind me that the bulletins and decorating, the baking and cleaning, the stressing and planning, are not the most important part of this season where we’re preparing for Jesus’ birth, Jesus’ coming. 

This is a season of joy and wonder, mystery and holy darkness. And every once in a while, Christmas songs stop me in my tracks and remind me.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Songs”

  1. I’m with you. Celebration of Christmas lasts way too long. My 16 year old daughter believes that the Christmas music season starts when we turn out our light on Halloween. Talk about overload! My favorite contemporary song is God Bless You Merry Gentlemen by the Barenaked Ladies, and my favorite hymn is Angles we have Heard on High. What are yours?

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    1. Current favorites are O Holy Night, Little Drummer Boy, and the First Noel–but I’m a huge believer in the season of Advent. A time of reflection and waiting to prepare for Christmas? Yes, please! O Come, O Come Emmanuel and the Canticle of the Turning are both Advent hymns and I love them so much.

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