Let me just say right off the bat, I like Christmas music a lot. Typically our car radios are playing Christmas tunes by Thanksgiving eve at the latest, usually much sooner. For me, the songs bring back fond memories of family gatherings of the past. My dad used to love to walk around the house singing Christmas carols at the top of his lungs (although he didn’t always get the words right to some of the newer songs). Coming from a musical family (no, that does not include me), carols and tunes of the season were a large part of our annual celebration. Now that we have established that…
…I have a complaint. What’s happened to the tunes of the season? As I have listened to the radio this year, I’ve heard some “iffy” releases mixed in with the traditional “Joy to the World” or the festive “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” I kind of categorize what I’m hearing in to three general categories:
1) Depressing Christmas–maybe you’ve heard some of the lyrics. They include statements like “I’ll never have a merry Christmas without you” or “If we make it through December”. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but judging by a lot of the music that’s been released in recent years, you would think the true meaning of Christmas is self-soothing intoxication and deeply troubling emotional problems. Who can forget “Last Christmas I gave you my heart and the very next day you gave it away?” It’s probably Elvis’ fault for making “Blue Christmas” such a hit.
2.) Nonsensical songs–Okay, where do we get off singing that Santa is on his way in a “boogie-woogie, choo-choo train?” Isn’t it hard enough to comprehend how the jolly man makes it across seven continents in one night in a red sleigh? Now we’ve got him crossing oceans of water in a train? I don’t think so. Then there’s the whole genre of 12 days of Christmas remakes. Look, the original version wears me out on its own, especially by day 5. But every body and their brother believes it is their mission to remake this goofy song. Like we can believe any girl would happily sing about what her true love had given her if it had included nine ladies dancing? Yeah, right. He’d be picking himself up off the street with 11 stinking pipes sticking out of his ear.
3.) Christmas songs that have nothing to do with…Christmas. “All I want for Christmas is a real good tan” comes to mind. No, that’s not really what you want to have for Christmas. You really wanted to have a 10th song for your Christmas album (because we know every artist has to have one). So instead of redoing the 12 Days of Christmas, you picked this winning classic. These are the songs where somebody wants to sing and they simply say “Christmas” or “this holiday” or something like that in the lyrics to make it a Christmas song. It’s in a simliar category with many of the Hallmark Christmas movies which are simply cheesy romance movies that all take place at Christmas but have little or nothing to do with the holiday.
Look, it’s not real complex but because I’m a kind guy who likes to help others, I’ll make this Christmas song thing real easy for the lyric writers. It’s about the most incredible news the world has ever heard. Jesus was born. He came to offer us a relationship with the God–the same God who created reindeer, snow and evergreen trees. So it ought to have some joy to it. It’s about angels and stars and a new mom and dad who are blown away by their gift. Most of all, it’s about the promise that peace had come and was now available to all. Rather than being depressed or discouraged, this Gift is the one that should help us have greater hope than ever before. That’s worth singing about!