It’s the time of year when people seemingly take pride in being a curmudgeon about Christmas music. Social media is filled with posts, tweets, and memes complaining about those who play Christmas music before the arbitrary date on which the curmudgeon has decided it is okay to begin playing Christmas music. Often that arbitrary date is Thanksgiving. The assumption, I guess, is that Christmas carols will ruin the turkey and stuffing. Bah, humbug!
Having worked retail over the holidays, I empathize with those who are forced to listen to “I Caught Mommy Kissing Santa Clause,” the horrible, horrible “Christmas Shoes,” and Mariah Carey’s version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” ad nauseam while at work. However, almost every single person that I know who complains about Christmas music being played “too early” does not currently work a retail job. So, to those people, specifically Christians who complain about Christmas music, I have a thing or two I want to say.
First off, let’s set aside the complaint that secular Christmas music is annoying enough to justify publicly complaining about it. And the notion that Christmas music takes away from Thanksgiving is nonsensical. The fact is that Christmas music does not have the power to ruin or even upstage Thanksgiving. Referencing a point I made in my introductory paragraph, no one actually believes that enjoying turkey will be made more difficult if “White Christmas” is playing in the background. The notion is absurd.
Honestly, though, I’m not overly concerned if fellow Christians want to out themselves as pointless curmudgeons regarding secular Christmas music. I mean, I don’t really understand why someone would want others to think of him as a killjoy about something as fun and festive as secular Christmas carols, but that’s on them. What actually concerns me is that I have never seen a complaint about Christmas music being played too soon that included the disclaimer that Christmas hymns are okay.
To be frank, it should be beyond just “okay” to enjoy Christmas hymns year-round if you are a Christian. In fact, it boggles my mind that a Christian wouldn’t play Christmas music year-round. The Incarnation of our Lord and Savior is worthy of year-round worshipful reminders in the form of Christmas hymns. I mean, we celebrate Good Friday and Easter all year.
I’m assuming that those opposed to Christmas music year-round don’t complain when their church sings “Jesus Paid It All” in November. Nor do they complain when their spouse plays “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” or “In Christ Alone” over the home stereo system in the middle of the summer. Obviously, complaining about those songs being played and sung throughout the year would bring a rebuke from fellow Christians. So why is Christmas music treated differently?
Just like we should celebrate Easter all year, we should celebrate Christmas year-round. Songs like “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” should resound through our homes, in our cars, and at our places of worship all year long. We should rejoice when our friends and family members want to play “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” even if they want to do so in early October, or in February, for that matter. There is zero reason for a follower of Jesus to be upset that “O Holy Night” is played during the summer. In fact, the wondrousness of the gospel of Jesus Christ should compel us to sing the lyrics, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining/Till he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”
In conclusion, I challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ who demean the playing of Christmas songs before Thanksgiving (or whenever) to consider what you’re communicating to others about your view of the first Advent. You’re unwittingly saying that the birth of Jesus is only important enough to sing about for a little more than a month. Followers of Jesus should openly and joyfully celebrate our Savior’s birth every day of the year.