Christmas music makes season bright
I love hearing and singing the music of the Christmas season. Topping my “favorites” are “Oh Holy Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and most of the traditional carols.
On the secular side, just about anything from the Carpenters, and most pieces sung by Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra contribute to the warmth of the Christmas season. It’s hard to beat Bing singing “White Christmas” and Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting on the open fire.
I also have a growing list of non-favorite Christmas tunes. These are songs that make you turn the channel as soon as you recognize the tune. Or maybe turn the CD player off completely. Only, once you hear it, the tune sticks with you like Becari Rambo on a wide receiver. These aggravating tunes are designed to seep into your brain and pop into your thinking 100 times a day.
I could go an entire season without Elvis singing “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You.” I have no qualm with Elvis, but my Christmas turns blue the minute I hear that song. Why do we have to hear “Feliz Navidad” 1,000 times a Christmas season? That song is torture. I can do without “Christmas in Killarney” and “Christmas Island.” “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” was never really that cute. The dogs barking “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Baby” and anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks I can live without.
I ran across another list last week, Christmas songs for the psychologically-challenged. On the list for people suffering from multiple personality disorder: “We Three Kings Disoriented Are.” For those who suffer from schizophrenia, it’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” For those who suffer from codependency, “On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me, but then I gave it all back to him.”
For those who suffer from paranoia, it’s “Santa Claus is coming to get me.” And for those who suffer from obsessive-compulsion syndrome: “Deck the Halls and the walls and the porch and the yard and the car and the trees and the street and the bushes and even the dog and cat.”
Music has been a part of the Christmas celebration since that original holy night. Music fills the Christmas story. The angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, then filled the sky and sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace, goodwill to all men,” (Luke 2:14). Technically, the text says the angels spoke these words, but I like to think of it as a song because they were praising God. Mary sang what is known as the “Magnificat” in response to the news that she would be the mother of the coming Messiah. This peasant girl lifted a song of rejoicing that God would remember the lowly. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, sang a song praising God for His coming deliverance. Simeon, who was promised a look at the Messiah before his death, held the baby in his arms and sang a song of praise that God kept His promise.
The greatest song of Christmas does not leap from our lips or dance around in our heads. It’s the song imbedded in our hearts when we catch the true spirit of Christmas. It’s a song of hope, peace, love and joy that springs from the presence of Jesus Himself, the Christ of Christmas. When Jesus lives within, there’s music in our lives year round.
Hugh Litchfield wrote about a lady who lived in a rundown section of Richmond, Va. She was old and her body ached from arthritis. She was almost an invalid. But there was one thing about her that people never forgot. She was a singer, and whenever people visited her, she was always listening to music. She always wanted guests to sing a song with her. And she always had a song to sing for her guests.
At her funeral, her pastor said, “Mrs. Jacobs always had a song in her heart, and the reason she always had a song in her heart was because Christ was there to help her sing it.” That’s what Christmas means. The music never stops because Jesus has come to help us keep on singing.
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, Fayetteville. The church family invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Join them for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 6 p.m. Visit on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.