December 5, 2011

Angels and Men Rejoice!

My maternal grandparents were extremely legalistic about the Christmas season. It lasted exactly one week. They never put the tree up before Christmas Eve and it absolutely had to come down on New Year's Eve. I always wondered if they had any idea how much joy they missed by limiting Christmas to such a narrow window of time.

Maybe that's why I start listening to Christmas music around Halloween, something for which I refuse to apologize. What baffles me is why it disturbs so many people. A couple of weeks ago I heard someone at the mall complaining about the Christmas music. "It's too soon," she said. "I'm already sick of it." Sick of Christmas music? In my mind, that just doesn't compute.

It seems to me that despite all of the options available, most of us tend to listen to one or two specific genres of music. Our preferences might be country, jazz, songs from our youth, or current hits, but we still listen to basically the same songs over and over and over again throughout the year. But there are a lot of people who want to restrict Christmas carols to a period of about four weeks. They have no idea how many different songs I want to hear more than can't be done in four weeks.

I'm not talking about Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer here. Heavens, no. If I hear that once a season, it's one time too many. I'm talking about songs that herald the joy of Christmas.

It can be Bing Crosby and Davie Bowie singing Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy or a choir singing Joy to the World. It can be a contemporary artist or it can be Rosemary Clooney. It can be be secular...I love John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over) and the hope it represents. It can be the ancient sound of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, the familiar strains of For Unto Us a Child is Born, or the more recent Breath of Heaven. All of these songs remind me of a season that represents the full depth of God's love for us, that He would send His only Son to live among us and to be a living sacrifice for us.

When you think how long the world waited for the Messiah, is it really too much to spend a couple of months a year anticipating His arrival all over again through music? Is it ever wrong to rejoice over the reality of Emmanuel...God with us? Is it ever too soon to sing, "O come, let us adore Him?"

One of my favorite Christmas songs is a newer song, All Is Well, by Wayne Kirkpatrick with music by Michael W. Smith. I love the music, and I love the words. You can listen to it on YouTube.

How early do you start listening to Christmas music? What are your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time,

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6



  1. i'm with you, margaret! i start hankering for Christmas
    music in JULY! i make myself wait until halloween,
    though just to spite that terrible day.

    i love that you said four weeks is not long enough to
    listen to all the beautiful carols. amen!

    have you noticed that the same people who can't carry
    the tune of any other hymn, can sing every note of
    "silent night" or "oh come, all ye faithful?"

  2. Funny you would say that. I worked most of the day Saturday because at the time it looked like we might have snow on Monday and I had a deadline to meet. As I walked down the hall to leave the (empty) building, I started singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" at the top of my lungs. I was still singing as I walked through the parking lot, and while it crossed my mind someone might hear me, I didn't care. I'd never do that with any other song. ;-)

  3. Oh, Margaret, this was the first time that I heard "All is Well" - absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

    I generally start listening to Christmas songs, mostly traditional carols around the first week of December. I love them all as they bring back so many precious memories.

    My absolute favorite is "O' Holy Night", but now "All is Well" will be added to the top of the list too. :)

  4. I had started sharing a song a day for Christmas and I am definitely adding this to the queue...thank you!

  5. Terry - I've got another one coming up on the 21st you might like. =)