From the Desk of the Associate Pastor: Deck the Halls?

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You have heard the debates right? The back and forth between when one can appropriately begin listening to Christmas music? For some not till November, others would say after Thanksgiving. Still others will take a more hard line stance of not till two weeks leading up to Christmas. And then there are those who secretly begin to listen in October or earlier. So, most would say that there really is no right answer, it’s just a preference thing, and maybe that is true, but I believe there are some helpful thoughts regarding this subject as we head into the holiday season.

I first want to make a very important distinction between music genres. In my definition Christmas music only includes songs that celebrate the advent of our Savior while Holiday music would encompass songs that celebrate the secular meaning of Christmas. If a song includes ideas about Santa, Reindeer, Snowmen, silver bells, or chestnuts it probably falls in the secular category.

Now is it wrong to listen to holiday music as a celebration of the warm and fuzzy and nostalgic feelings one gets as they think about this time of year? No, not really, but in my personal opinion, you should not be subjecting others to such music before the 10th of December. I say that half joking, but the reason I want to make such an important distinction between “Christmas” music and “Holiday” music is because this time of year holds such a special theological place in my heart. Now, as a disclaimer, I recognize that December was probably not the actual historical month that Christ was born, but it has become the accepted season to spend a focused time celebrating the birth of Christ.

Let us think for a minute about the ramifications of the birth of Christ. Mankind had rebelled and abandoned their Creator. Even those who were supposed to be the people of God had largely and repeatedly brushed any loyalty to the one true God aside. Yet over and over again God promised to send a Savior who would “crush the head of the serpent,” and would “sit on the throne of His father David,” and would be “God with us,” and so much more. Now the true followers of God had waited and waited for Him to fulfill all these promises. In the birth of Christ, and His subsequent work on the cross, we have all these promises fulfilled.

This is why we have such cause for celebration and it just seems we cannot adequately do this with just reindeer and sleigh bells. And in fact, I believe that in large part these cultural Christmas references largely distract from the true celebration of Christmas.

Brothers and sisters, it is not my attempt to infringe on your Christian liberty in denying you the fun of celebrating the secular aspects of the Christmas season, but please for the sake of your children and for the sake of a lost and dying world, do not allow these things to take away from the true celebration of God with us.

Even though God waited for centuries and millennia to fulfill the promise to send the Savior, He ultimately did so. As Paul wrote to the Galatians: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a virgin, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law.” The implications of this are huge to us. The fact that God fulfilled His promise to send the Messiah means we can trust Him that He will eventually, and in just the right time, fulfill every other promise that He has made to us. That is why I say listen to your Holiday music for a short time (if you must), but feel free to celebrate and rejoice with Christmas music whatever time of year the mood hits you.

Merry Christmas!

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