Christmas Confessions I – I’m Not Crazy for Carols

I’m beginning a series of posts today in which I’ll confess to some of my hang-ups with the Christmas season.  I’ll be sharing a number of observations as an erstwhile worship pastor.

My first confession is that I don’t like Christmas Carols.  OK.. that may sound harsh, so let me explain .  For at least two months every year we are inundated with Christmas carols – in the mall, on the radio, TV, everywhere we go we hear the same paltry repertoire of Christmas songs repeated over and over again.  Only the most robust melodies could resist becoming threadbare after so much overuse. Unfortunately most Christmas Carols don’t fare very well.

However, my superficial preferences on the aesthetics of Christmas carol music aren’t all that important.  The biggest problem with Christmas carols is that they come with baggage.  When many of us sing a Christmas carol our minds instantly conjure  memories of a television commercial or the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, rather than dwelling upon the meaning of what we’re singing.  It is a real effort to push beyond the nostalgic associations we have with most carols and to truly worship through them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we ban Christmas carols.  They are a very meaningful part of our celebration of Christ’s first coming.  The challenge for us as worshipers is to avoid using them as an exercise in nostalgia, but instead to make every effort to view them with fresh eyes and fresh ears.  As worship planners and worship leaders we must make every effort to keep them fresh and put them into settings that draw our attention to Christ.