Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas music. I am not the one complaining if it plays ‘too early’ on the radio. In fact, with the benefit of modern music streaming services, I find myself listening to Christmas music not just at Christmas. I also enjoy Christmas decorations and Christmas sweaters, even the ‘ugly’ ones.
As much as I love Christmas music, I do not listen to Christmas music for its theological accuracy. I don’t consider the Christmas Tree as a statement of truth. Music and decorations are great. I love them, but they are all part of a secular Christmas that has nothing to do with the Birth of our Savior.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy Christmas music and decorations. I’m even a pushover for those sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. As fun and touching as they may be, they have only one purpose. Their only purpose is to get you shopping and spending money.
Yes, there is actual Christmas themed music and decorations, but don’t count on them to teach the truth of Christmas. There was no little drummer boy in Bethlehem that night. Nativity scenes are cute, but I can’t tell you the last time I recall seeing an accurate one. Jesus was not born in a barn and Joseph was not some young man starting his new life with his wife Mary.
One of my least favorite things about secular Christmas are the nonsensical statements that have made their way into the holiday lectionary. “Christmas is about family and friends.” NO! Christmas is about the birth our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Christmas isn’t about sitting around the Christmas Tree and opening presents. It isn’t about enjoying a lovingly prepared feast with cousins you haven’t seen since last Christmas. As the hymn of Christmas states, “Your Nativity O Christ our God has shined light upon all the world.”
We’ve been fasting for two weeks already to prepare for Christmas. Don’t get sidetracked now. Go ahead and buy gifts for your family. Go ahead and clean and decorate your house. Just don’t forget to clean your soul and adorn it with good works. Prepare yourself as a gift to God.
Ultimately, we have to remember that Christmas is about encountering God. Secular Christmas might be pretty and pull on our heartstrings, but it won’t help us encounter God.