Can we play them before Thanksgiving?
Every fall, I hear people lament over the Christmas music that gets played before Thanksgiving has been celebrated. It can create fun banter and interoffice debates, and I am personally split on the matter. I really enjoy Christmas music, in particular some of the good old Christmas hymns that get played each December. On the other hand, I really only want to hear that Santa Claus is coming to town for about two weeks, and then I am over it. I am certainly dreaming of a white Christmas, but that dream becomes a nightmare when it is repeated too many times.
When I was younger, I worked in a grocery store that played the local oldies station, which cycled through the same 25 Christmas songs each year. In a six hour shift, I would hear the same songs multiple times each. I developed a small distain for poor Alvin getting scolded because he was little flat. Get over it Dave...
As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate most Christmas songs, even the ones that used to drive me a bit crazy. But where I have grown the most is in my love for the many Christmas hymns we get to sing this time of year. It is odd to me that we relegate a whole collection of great songs, only to be sung for less than 10% of the year. So, that is why I will occasionally play my mix of Christmas hymns, even in the middle of July.
So, while I agree that singing about Rudolph's nose, or how I saw mommy kissing santa should be limited to small number of days, I am happy to whip out the Christmas hymns much earlier than Thanksgiving. Why do I love Christmas hymns so much? Let me explain.
I love to sing Christmas hymns, because they celebrate one of the most important and pivotal moments in history. After sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, all of creation has been groaning for God to redeem what had been broken. Over centuries, God's people had established a nation, walked away from him, returned to him, escaped oppression, wandered in a desert, walked away from him, returned to him, were taken into exile, walked away from him, returned to him, rebuilt their treasured city, and all the while... they waited. Waited for God to fix the mess that had been made.
And God chose to enter into his creation as a baby. In a world where kings and rulers are concerned with being mighty and strong, posturing themselves against one another to establish their authority, God came as a fragile little boy. He didn't have a kings welcome into the creation over which he reigns, he had a humble and meek entry into the world he created. Jesus is what God's people were waiting for.
So, each Christmas we celebrate that Jesus, the light of the world, broke through the dark landscape to bring a new dawn. The sun is rising on God's creation thanks to Jesus coming to earth.
The hymns that I love
There are so many great hymns that have been written about Christmas, and over the next three weeks of advent I will write about one each week. It will be hard to choose just three, but I am confident that I can do it. And to make it easier on myself, I will not write about O Holy Night this year, because I wrote a short post about it last year.
In the meantime, allow me to recommend a few artists and albums I really enjoy listening to around Christmas.
There are only a few weeks between now and Christmas, so enjoy all the Christmas music you can. And my prayer is that when you listen to the hymns, they are not just background music, but that you listen to the lyrics and consider Jesus.
I recommended Falk Angel above, because I love their music. Their albums are all Christmas music, and they are all great. Here is one of their songs in a video format. Enjoy!