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Deacon-structing: Christmas Music

Deacon Pedro

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It seems that every year we have the same discussion around this time: what is the real meaning of Christmas? and let’s keep Christ in Christmas. There are even campaigns to boycott department stores that refuse to acknowledge the “reason for the season.” It's so easy to jump onto that band wagon.
To add to this, “Christmas” starts right after U.S. Thanksgiving. In Canada, some stores already have Christmas merchandise and decorations after Halloween. On my street we’ve had houses with lights for a month already (I'm not kidding); some of my neighbours have had their tree up for a couple of weeks and I even heard of an office Christmas party taking place in November! I am of the belief that the lights should be lit on Christmas Eve, and then we celebrate Christmas during the Christmas season, not during the Advent season. (For more of my thoughts on this, listen to my commentary at the top of the show on this week's SLHour.)
In past years, at least two of the radio stations that claim to be Toronto’s Official Christmas station begin playing Christmas music on December 1st. At least one of them plays Christmas music exclusively for the whole month. This year I noticed that they started playing Christmas music a week ago! In previous years I could not stand this. Nothing spoils your Advent as having to listen to Wham’s Last Christmas every day starting on November 27th!
But while driving home the other night I realised something quite profound: At no other time of the year will secular radio stations play Christian music. What I mean here is that Christmas music is Christian music. I don’t mean Mariah Carey singing All I Want For Christmas is You. I mean the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I mean David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing Little Drummer Boy-Peace on Earth. Regardless of the intent, these lyrics are helping us focus on the reason for the season and proclaiming Jesus Christ.
So, I’m driving in my car and on comes Boney M singing their wonderful rendition of Mary’s Boy Child.  I love that song! And it’s not just a nice Christmas song. In their arrangement they go out of their way to make a point:
Oh My Lord, You sent Your son to save us
Oh My Lord, Your very self You gave us
Oh My Lord, that sin may not enslave us, and love may reign once more.
This on secular radio!
I remember a few years ago, one night, on my way home I heard a new Christmas song – I almost had to pull over to really try and understand the lyrics. This is what I heard:
You'd say that today holds something special
Something holy and not superficial
So here's to the birthday boy who saved our lives
It's something we all try to ignore.
I later found out this is Taylor Swift’s song, Christmas Must be Something More, a song that very clearly says that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and is not scared to say the name of Jesus. This on a secular radio station.
So – I’m going to be a little less judgmental from now on – if radio stations want to start playing Christmas music before December, that’s OK for me, because, Advent or not, any time is a good time to proclaim the name of Jesus on radio!
If Taylor Swift is not scared to proclaim it, neither should we: Christmas is something more!

Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching: [email protected]

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