I confess, there are times where some would call me a bit of a scrooge. I don’t hate Christmas, far from it. I love Christmas. I’m a cold weather person; I like the lights and the friends and the movies. But if I’m honest, I don’t like the music very much.
I know, I know, I’m the music guy that doesn’t make any sense, but just hear me out. I really enjoy singing Christmas carols, but way too many of them contain too many things that aren’t true. As a pastor and a musician, it really gets on my nerves.
It bothers me that we ask Mary if she knew those things about Jesus. Of course she did! She tells us in Luke 1. Or that we seem to think that Jesus wasn’t a real baby in “Away in a Manger.” No crying he makes? To present this idyllic picturesque scene seems to me to betray the very humanity of our Lord. Or that weird thing about a drummer boy, do these people even read the bible?
On the other hand, there are great moments in Christmas carols like “Born thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign forever
Now thy gracious kingdom bring
By thine own eternal spirit Rule in all our hearts alone By thine all sufficient merit Raise us to thy glorious throne”
“Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty prince of life
Shelters in a stable
Hands that set the stars in place
Shake the earth in darkness
Cling now to a mother’s breast
Vulnerable and helpless”
Or my absolute favorite:
“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
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the Newborn King!”
Christmas is an amazing time of year, with songs that allow us to focus on great truths that fill us with Joy. So, maybe I’m a little bit too harsh. It’s nice to think about the innocence of Mary, or how I would have responded to the baby Jesus with a drummer boy. So let’s sing our carols out with joy.
But maybe this year, just as a favor to me, look beyond that first round of nice things we sing at Christmas, those surface level, fleeting things, and find the deep, unmovable truth that we hear at the birth of Jesus. God and sinners reconciled. Let’s focus on those things and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.