Here is an audio version of this story if you would rather listen than read:
I’ve noticed a sad trend. I know the holidays are here so I don’t want to sound a sour note, but I’ve had something on my chest and it gets heavier every year. To me it seems the guardians of political correctness are forcing sacred Christmas carols out of public places. Winter holiday songs strung end-to-end leave me cold. Some of them are tasteless, some of them are silly, and others are annoying outright. A few are enduring but none of them really satisfy the longing Christmastime stirs up in my soul. None of them really satisfy my appetite for real Christmas music. Allow me an illustrative anecdote.
One winter afternoon the snow came fast and thick and the boys asked me to take them out to make some money shoveling snow. We bundled up and on the way out the door the girls hinted that they might do some baking while we were gone. Lois said, “I have a nice turkey. When you get home I’ll have a turkey dinner waiting for you.”
Bolstered by the promise of baked goods and turkey dinner, we strode valiantly into the storm. Within twenty minutes we acquired a huge job clearing the winding drive that ascended a hill to a stately home overlooking a Apple Valley Lake. We dug our way up the hill spurred on by the prospect of fresh baked cookies and turkey dinner in our warm home at the end of the day.
Every few minutes we would stop, stretch our backs and look out across the lake. Someone would say, “What kind of cookies do you think the girls are making?”
“I think peanut butter.”
Back to the work. “You think she is making cottage fries with that?’
“No. Mashed potatoes with gravy.”
In the late afternoon we finished our task, collected our pay, aimed our car toward home and turned up the heat.
Ginger, our Golden Retriever, greeted us barking as we pulled into the horseshoe drive. “She must be excited at the smell of dinner,” we thought.
When the car came to a stop the boys raced each other into the house. By the time I got to the back door they were coming out looking forlorn.
“Mom says the turkey is still frozen. We’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow.”
“The girls are out of sugar so they couldn’t make cookies.”
“What’s for dinner?” I asked Lois.
“The girls ate hot dogs. There are some left. Do you want some macaroni and cheese, too? I think we have some tuna if you would rather have that.”
We all groaned. “If you don’t mind I think I’ll take the girls to town for some sugar and maybe grab a pizza.”
When you have your heart set on a big turkey dinner and all the trimmings, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just don’t hit the spot. That is the way I feel about Christmas music. A few weeks into December I don’t want to listen to endless repetitions of “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” As far as I’m concerned, that is a perfect prescription for a “Blue Christmas.”
If I can’t hear children’s voices singing “O Holy Night,” it’s a little like have to settle for tuna fish for Christmas dinner after driving across two states with the taste of grandma’s pumpkin pie on your mind. Hold the silly holiday ditties, thank you. I prefer to sink my teeth into the time honored sacred carols cherished by Christendom through the centuries.
Jesus said a good father wouldn’t give his son a stone if he asks for bread. I think it is pitiful to tech children only to sing songs like “Frosty the Snowman” when their little souls were created to be nourished by eternal things. The Creator designed little lips to lisp His name. It borders on blasphemy to substitute a tireless track of silly winter songs instead.
I’m a little embarrassed that a distant relative of mine, John Pierpont, started the trend with a song written to entertain Sunday School children called “Jingle Bells.” He was Unitarian and rejected the Deity of Christ so I suppose he really didn’t have that much to sing about at Christmastime.
It’s a sad, sad day when a culture looses its voice for holy carols. It is a tragedy when a country looses its ear for sacred music and substitutes songs that are silly or sensual, profane or seasonal in their place.
Our voices were not created to praise the weather, but the Creator and His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who was born to save and died to redeem and will One day return to judge the world.
Riverfront Character Inn
December 16, 2002