Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Don’t Like Christmas Carols

I told my wife I was going to write a blog about my favorite Christmas carol. She asked me what my favorite carol was. I told her I didn’t have one because I really don’t like Christmas carols. She said, “How are you going to write about your favorite one then?” I said I’d just make something up.

Well, now that I’ve thought about it, I decided it’s probably not nice to make something up and act like I like something that I really don’t like. I think that’s called a lie, although it seems like a pretty innocent lie to me. 

I guess it’s better to tell the truth and the truth is I never have liked Christmas carols. I’m not really sure why. I grew up singing them, but I didn’t like them as a kid either. I’m not a Scrooge. I love Christmas. I like Santa Claus alright…although my wife doesn’t. I like snow and eggnog and presents. I guess it’s fair to say that I like pretty much everything about Christmas except the carols…and maybe mince meat pie. I’ve never really been sure what’s in mince meat pie. 

I know why I don’t like some carols…like We Three Kings. It’s in a minor key, and it’s kind of boring. My son sang it in a Christmas play once. I liked it that time but I think that was only because my son was singing it. That one that has the long GLORIA in the chorus…people always take a breath in the middle of the word and that bothers me, that and the egg shells thing. Silent Night is ok I guess, although I like it better in German and with a guitar…call me a purist. And then there’s the problem with the words, Away in a Manger for instance. That line about “no crying he makes.” Not only is awkward English, I’m pretty sure Jesus cried like every other baby. 

I guess what really bothers me about Christmas carols is that they kind of trivialize what happened that first Christmas. I mean think about it. God came down to earth! It wasn’t just about a star and shepherds and wise men. It was about God putting on flesh and coming to earth to be the Savior of the world. I’m not sure how you capture that in a song, or a sermon, or a book… I’m just saying that I think sometimes we reduce God-sized events into people-sized poems and songs and it really kind of steals the mystery and majesty of it all. I guess I don’t mind if you sing Christmas carols, just try to remember that Christmas is bigger than any carol. 

Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to find one I like. Maybe next year.

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