Posted by: musingsofthemund | December 3, 2009

Mourning Christmas

My heart and my spirit are grieved.

It came out of no where.

Well, maybe that’s not completely true. As the Christmas season has approached this year, I have found myself completely dreading it without having a clue why. The mere thought of the beginning of Christmas music being played around the clock filled me with distasted and I discovered much to my chagrin that it had started even before Thanksgiving this year. I have a lot of friends who LOVE Christmas music and who were very excited at the beginnings of it all. Not me. I used to think it was because I got very tired of having to listen to it all the time when I ‘served my time’ in retail at Sears for two and a half Christmas seasons, but now I’m not so sure. I had an enlightening epiphany the other day about why it affects me on a deeper level.

Much of the Christmas music that is played is meaningless. Not all of it by any means, but a lot of it. I realized that I really, truly love Christmas hymns. Songs like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, or O Come All Ye Faithful stir something in me, they fill me with the warmth of the knowledge of what it is I’m celebrating. I’m going to be honest. Christmas feels, in a lot of ways, dead to me. I feel like it’s turned into some kind of crass monument to consumerism in my life. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is a new development. I think it grows in its size and stature every year.

But this year is different for me. It’s different because God is choosing to make it so. My heart and my spirit are grieved by what this celebration has become. There was a year when I was a teenager when I took a very cynical bent on the crassness of the Christmas consumerism. When people would talk about shopping or what they want or whatever, I would follow it with a very sarcastic “…because Christmas is ALL about PRESENTS!” In looking at myself, I wonder if I haven’t fallen into that trapping.

I think about how much time I’ve spent purusing deals on the internet, or trying to figure out what I want this year. In the end, it’s all just stuff.

I write to say this: We cannot allow ourselves to forget why we celebrate at this time of year. If we do, then it is all meaningless and we shouldn’t even bother.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

We celebrate the birth of the only one who can save us from the grasp of Satan and our sin. That is what it is about.

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

This time should be an invitation to celebration. We should come with such expectation and excitement!

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This should be a time where we remember just how desperate our need for a savior is! He is the greatest gift we ever have and ever could be given!

I’m not sure if the grief I feel over this is over my own personal convictions about this, or if it is about the western view of Christmas as a whole. I suspect it is a combination of the two. Which means that even though I may grow personally, I may yet grieve at Christmases to come, in seeing just meaningless and irrelevant it becomes…

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Responses

  1. Well said. The commercialization of the Christian holiday has become sad.

  2. Thank you! Because I’ve been trying to put it that nicely and tactfully for a few years now but I always end up coming off as “harshin the mellow” when I try 🙂 So yes, this. So hardcore this. I feel ya, man do I feel ya.

  3. Yes, Christmas has been mutilated and muddled by many. But we have to take responsibility for our own attitude toward it. It is still possible to celebrate “the reason for the season,” as we sing songs about the Lord Jesus Christ.

    And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at my own, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)


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