It seems that every year we have the same discussion around this time: what is the real meaning of Christmas?
and let’s keep Christ in Christmas
. There are even campaigns to boycott department stores that refuse to acknowledge the “reason for the season.” It's so easy to jump onto that band wagon.
To add to this, “Christmas” starts right after U.S. Thanksgiving. In Canada, some stores already have Christmas merchandise and decorations after Halloween. On my street we’ve had houses with lights for a month already; some of my neighbours have had their tree up since the end of November. I am of the belief that the lights should be lit on Christmas Eve, and then we celebrate Christmas during the Christmas season, not during the Advent season.
There are at least two radio stations that claim to be Toronto’s Official Christmas station
. For a month now they’ve been playing Christmas music exclusively. In previous years I could not stand this. Nothing spoils your Advent as having to listen to Wham’s Last Christmas
every day starting on December 3rd!
But while driving home the other night I realised something quite profound: at no other time of the year will radio stations play Christian music. What I mean here is that Christmas music is
Christian music. I don’t mean Mariah Carey singing All I Want For Christmas is You.
I mean the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
I mean David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing Little Drummer Boy-Peace on Earth.
Regardless of the intent, these lyrics are helping us focus on the reason for the season and proclaiming Jesus Christ.
So, I’m driving in my car and on comes Boney M singing their wonderful rendition of Mary’s Boy Child. I love that song! And it’s not just a nice Christmas song. In their arrangement they go out of their way to make a point:
Oh My Lord, You sent Your son to save us
Oh My Lord, Your very self You gave us
Oh My Lord, that sin may not enslave us, and love may reign once more.
This on secular radio!
And the other night, on my way home I heard a new Christmas song – I almost had to pull over to really try and understand the lyrics. This is what I heard:
You'd say that today holds something special
Something holy and not superficial
So here's to the birthday boy who saved our lives
It's something we all try to ignore
I later found out this is Taylor Swift’s new song, Christmas Must be Something More, a song that very clearly says that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and that is not scared to say the name of Jesus. This on a secular radio station.
So – I’m going to be a little less judgmental from now on – if radio stations want to start playing Christmas music from December 1st, that’s OK for me, because, Advent or not, any time is a good time to proclaim the name of Jesus on radio!
So if you’re looking for something to do on December 26th, after all the turkey and eggnog, tune in to Salt + Light Radio on the Catholic Channel (Sirius 159 and XM 117) at 10pm (ET). As Mary Rose mentioned yesterday
on the blog, join us for our Christmas special, featuring some of our favourite Christmas songs (and some new ones), and some wonderful reflections and thoughts to carry you through the Christmas season. If you don’t have satellite radio, no worries, you can podcast the show at www.saltandlighttv.org/radio
If Taylor Swift is not scared to proclaim it, neither should we: Christmas must be something more!