By Amy McCollom
Nothing defines the Christmas season more than hearing those familiar Christmas songs on the radio or in a store. Candy canes and ornaments may appear in stores as early as September, but you know the season is upon you when the songs reach your ears. It’s a right of passage, a signal, an official start to the season, per se.
Love them or hate them, Christmas songs have been around for what seems like forever. In the 4th century, there was a hymn sung in church that resembled a Christmas song called “Jesus Illuminates All,” but for the most part songs, especially Christmas songs were forbidden to be sung in the church due to the solemn reverence to God on such a Holy holiday back then.
In the 12th century, a french version of “The Friendly Beasts” was written about the animals in the stable on the night of Jesus Christ’s birth. It is still sung and enjoyed by many people today, including myself.
One of the older well-known Christmas carols is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” dating back to the 16th century. In 1739, “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” was published, and by the 18th century, more and more songs came out that we now know and love (or hate.)
Were you aware that Silent Night was originally a poem written by Joseph Mohr, a young Catholic priest at St. Nicholas Church in Salzburg, Austria? As the story goes, mice had eaten up the insides of the church organ beyond repair, and hurriedly preparing for the evening service, the young priest took the poem to a head school master who helped him put his poem to music. The two performed the song that night at the church service for the very first time, with the young priest on the guitar and singing, along with the help of the vocals of the school master. The rest is history, as they say.
Do you have a favorite Christmas song? Or do you just hate all Christmas music. (I know a few people who do.) Or, like me, do you still have an ornery streak and want to add “Batman smells” to the Jingle Bells lyrics? Do you still sing about hair-lipped angels singing glory to the newborn King? Do you know all the words to Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? Frosty The Snowman? Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer? If so, you can come carolling with me. Bring your own elf hat. As Buddy The Elf said in the movie Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Singing really does lift your spirits, and especially at Christmas time. I don’t even get the words right, but if I hear Feliz Navidad, you better believe I am going to be belting that out with the best of them! And I will probably be dancing a bit too. I’m a drummer, remember. I can’t keep that beat locked inside of me!
Christmas music makes me happy. It is full of memories, and hope, and joy. It reminds me that this ole world isn’t all that we have to look forward to. We always have hope and joy, because God sent his Son Jesus down here to be our eternal hope and refuge from the storms of this world. We have a reason to sing and dance. We have a reason for our joy. Jesus is the light of the world, He has shown us the way, and as we follow Him, we stay in the light. There is pure joy for all those that walk in the light. God is with us, Immanuel!
Sing those Christmas songs! Sing about the Savior! Sing about the joy! Let’s raise our voices and remind everyone about that night that the angels cried Holy, Holy, Holy. Christmas is a time for celebrating this beautiful gift we have been given; the perfect gift to us from God. Let’s not be ungrateful brats and sit with our arms crossed in front of us and our lips sealed tight while others are singing praises. I would be scared to death to do that. Sing from your heart and see what joy will fill it then. Rejoice!