Christmas is a very special time of year to me. I am big on decorating, gift-giving, baking goodies, and, of course, listening to Christmas music. Many people are in Christmas for the presents they can get, or the competition of who has the best lights, or even out of a sense of obligation – “participating in the Christmas hoopla makes me a better Christian.”
However, to me, Christmas has a different meaning. To me, Christmas is a celebration of love in honor of God loving us so much that He gave us His only Son (John 3:16)! Decorating is a fun activity that allows us to spend time together, giving gifts is a thoughtful outward expression of love, and the music is a way to worship and adore Christ.
Yes, I’m well aware that Christmas Day is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, that it was picked for a pagan holiday, yada yada, yada. I don’t really care. Do we think that Memorial Day is a bad idea because it doesn’t actually fall on the day that all the service men and women died? Of course not! We celebrate Memorial Day as a day of remembrance for what has passed. I view Christmas the same way. People get so caught up in the specifics of if it is completely factual that they don’t bother to take it for what it is – a remembrance of the birth of our Savior.
Christmas music holds a particular place in my heart. I love music – always have, and I’m sure I always will. I grew up listening to music, and music has a very strong presence in my life. While there are the secular Christmas songs (Rudolph, Frosty, and all that), I mostly listen to religious Christmas music. And I don’t mean Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest hit – I have strong opinions about the Christian music industry, but that’s best saved for another post.
I mean the songs themselves – “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” “Ave Maria,” as well as greater choral works. Many of them are not in English, but as a result of my singing in choirs for so many years, I am able to understand the songs. They seem to hold a feeling of reverence. I love to listen to them as I work, as I am driving, as I am meditating on His word. My musical experience allows me to feel as though His presence is visceral. I love it.
On Sunday evening we went to our church‘s “Lessons and Carols” service. Basically what we did is we read passages from the Bible about the birth of Christ (including the prophecies, so we read from Genesis, Isaiah, Malachi, and Luke), and after each passage there was a song about that portion of the story. Sometimes the congregation sang, sometimes the Cancel Choir sang, sometimes the children’s choir sang . . . it was lovely. It brought so much more to the songs to see their biblical foundations, and it brought a new experience to the Word that I was able to keep humming!
What a joy it is that the Lord gave us not only His Son, but also that He gave us so many ways to worship Him! Listen closely to the Christmas music you hear this season, and remember why we sing these songs, and what they truly represent!