Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Child wants to climb into manger early

Let's talk about a particular Christmas tradition.


There is one in  my church  and likely yours that creates frustration.


No Christmas songs until Christmas day.


On the surface this seems to make sense.


After all Advent is about waiting.


Waiting for the Savior to arrive.


Some of you reading will see me as an impatient little kid who wants those Christmas presents… Now!


That's not it.


Sometime in November,  the Christmas music starts surrounding us.


Radio stations go nuts with it, especially on the FM dial.


Restaurant sound systems.


Even the Muzak playing in the background at the bank.


By the time Advent actually begins in early December, we are immersed in holiday melodies.


Meanwhile back at your local parish, we launch into a couple of tunes about waiting.


Oh Come Oh Come  Emmanuel.


Something wonderful is on its way.


Outside of church the really beautiful Christmas songs continue to engulf us.


I  love some of the modern renditions of classics like Oh Holy Night.


Back to church again the following Sunday.


More Oh Come Emmanuel.


Back out into the real world.


Target plays a poignant version of O Little Town Of Bethlehem and I am grateful for the Redeemer.


Back to church again.


More Emmanuel.



In my car, a Christian  radio station  delivers 100 hours of uninterrupted Christmas carols and we are still a couple of weeks away from the big day.


Finally Christmas actually arrives and our local churches unwrap the Christmas music.


The problem is that the churchgoers by now  have been assaulted by the shopping mall's onslaught of Christmas tunes.


As a result, the  impact of those songs at church is lost.


By December 27, my wife has disassembled the tree and moved on to planning for the next holiday.


During this period, Sunday worshipers try to keep  things going.


Even though we've been turned into zombies, bludgeoned into a post-Christmas stupor by the likes of Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, and the Carpenters.


Here's all that I'm asking.


Church leaders, give us at least a morsel of some of the more subdued Christmas hymns to sing during Advent in order to get us in the right spirit.


No one's going to die if Silent Night or Away in a Manger are softly intoned like snowflakes gently decorating a pasture.


Imagine the inspiration of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear as your congregation  envisions the City of David  in the weeks leading up to that first Christmas.


Men of the cloth, it's not your fault but the world we live in is so oversaturated with Christmas music that by the time you allow it in the church, it feels a little anti-climactic.


Anyway, consider this column to be my one-man petition to let baby Jesus softly poke his nose into your church during the Advent season.


I assure you that the roof of the church will not come crashing down into the sanctuary.


Andy Williams and Burl Ives are stealing your thunder.


Let's take it back.




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