Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas music: Junk food? Or Food for the soul?

For the past few weeks, I've been listening to my Pandora holiday stations:  Beach Boys, The Carpenters, White Christmas, Disney Holiday, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Casting Crowns.  It occurred to me that while some of the songs create feel-good moments, they weren't saying much about what I consider the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus' birth!
Songs like "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Merry Christmas, Darling," and "White Christmas" remind me of my son in the Navy missing his fifth Christmas away from home and fourth while out of the country.  They create a sense of bonding and memories, which are all good during this time of year.  Some of my other favorites to listen to are "The Happy Snowman" (Bing Crosby), "Frosty, the Snowman," "Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Grown Up Christmas List."  But they don't remind me of why we even have these songs of longing for loved ones, being kind to strangers when we pass them, fun in the snow, and dreaming of happier times and peace in our community, state, nation, and the world. It's just junk food that fills the emotions, but doesn't satisfy the soul.

 Why is this season delegated to being kind, acting differently toward strangers, purchasing gifts to show loved ones they matter?  The heart of Christmas is to honor the birth of the Savior of the world!  So why is it that we take this time of the year to (in some cases!) change our outlook on others?  Change our treatment of the homeless?  Take the opportunity to  help a family who is struggling during the holidays?

It is a sacred time, for sure, that we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, and I think because we are reminded of God's love for us, sent in the way of His only Son, that we feel compelled to help others.  As a parent, I make a point of teaching my kids to be generous, hospitable, and compassionate all throughout the year.  I challenge them to be nice all year long, think about gift giving in any month of the year, not just Christmas time.
Consider these popular carols:
"Silent Night"
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
"The First Noel"
"Angels We Have Heard on High"
Each of these songs is the gospel message in its purest, simplest form.   These songs speak of the Savior coming as a babe, humbly placed in a manger in a stable, while Heaven celebrated, and the rest of the activities of the world continued seemingly without notice of Him whose birth angels proclaimed!  Jesus came right then and there, and everything changed!  THAT is such rich, spiritually filling food!!

This Christmas season, while you have your favorite Christmas music playing, remember that some fun music is good.  But just like a healthy food diet, consider exactly what you're putting inside your mind, body, and spirit...


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