“YOU don’t like Christmas music?”
A non-believing coworker asked me that in a storage area when I snarked about the ALREADY playing loop of “Christmas” music.
I gave two explanations. 1) I’m a church fuddyduddy and I prefer the season of Advent, building spiritual and theological expectation toward the celebration of the Savior’s first and second comings. I like to save the Christmas hymns for the Holy Night and following, in imitation of the whole creation welcoming the Christ.
2) Most of the stuff on the muzak isn’t “Christmas” music in any terms meaningful to a disciple of Jesus. Most of it is lovesick (OK, sex deprived) glop more in line with a binge watch of Friends than the proclamation of the world’s Savior.
I’m not alone in my sentiments. The Christian satire site Babylon Bee fights the muzak, too.
One of the galling pieces that seems to show up hourly while I’m TRYING to work and maintain a Christ-like disposition is this one:
Now, how can I fault this one? It’s all about giving to those in need, right?
Kinda. But it strikes me as racially and culturally biased – as well as empty of Christ, who can unify every nation, tribe, people and language.
Consider this lyric:
There’s a world outside your window/and it’s a world of dreaded fear/where the only water flowing/is the bitter sting of tears/And the Christmas bells that ring there/are the clanging chimes of doom…
They’re singing about Africa, and the array of White celebrities wants us to donate money to our enthrallment with White celebrities so that White Celebrities can pass it on the the Black faces we don’t see and won’t have to think about again until the next round of retail store muzak.
Worse than that is the assumption of utter hopelessness and emptiness among the Africans. Seriously, Christmas to them is a clanging chime of doom?
While not denying the material struggles and, in some cases, man made disasters in Africa, I have to say they can teach us something about Christmas. So many of them worship the Lord Jesus in all circumstances, not hinging their understanding of the Gospel on health and wealth (although we are managing to export that corruption of the Gospel quite well).
Clanging chime of doom? On the contrary, in my own Anglican branch of global Christianity,
Areas that have seen strong growth include: Nigeria, Singapore, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, and parts of South America. The first Anglican diocese in the DRC came into being in 1972, with 30 clergy, 25 parishes, and 30 churches. As of 2015, Anglicanism in the DRC had nine dioceses, 545 clergy, 424 parishes, and a membership of about 237,000. Nigeria, Singapore, and South America are discussed elsewhere in this article. What is important to recognise is the scale and speed of the growth in recent decades.
Meanwhile, in the materially blessed churches on our side of the window,
In some parts of the global North, such as the US, Canada, and Wales, there has been serious decline.
The sum message of the retail Christmas muzak season, to which our churches all to often play chaplain, seems to be, The meaning of life is to have a reliable sex partner and to show yourself righteous by sending a few bucks to the helpless and hapless primitives somewhere else.
I mean, do we know it’s Christmas time at all?
OR Advent, for what it’s worth. Because Africans and others who have a lively, growing Christianity will hear and take more seriously words like those in the Gospel many will hear on December 3rd, the First Sunday of Advent,
Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”