It's the most wonderful time of the year — at least in my humble opinion.
I love nothing more than putting up the tree and turning up the tunes.
I don't listen to much music during the year, but from Thanksgiving to January 1, Christmas music plays non-stop.
And I don't discriminate.
We listen to the oldies and the modern. The good and the bad. Christian-hymns and pop-sensations. The melancholy and the joyful.
And every year, I notice the same thing — two types of Christmas music fight to coexist in the same space: the happy and the sad.
Rockin around the Christmas Tree
Many associate Christmas with joy.
For years, people skip Thanksgiving to infuse some Christmas joy in their life.
Christmas showcases lights, feasting, generosity, excitement, and an idealized vision of dancing around the Christmas tree.
Happy Christmas songs tap into this desire for a holly, jolly life where the warm fire and cocoa melt away all the year's cold and harsh experiences.
I expect this overly optimistic, sentimental approach to life, blaring through my speaker from modern people.
Why? Because we're a country, who works hard to distract ourselves from any and all pain.
That's why all the sad Christmas music surprises me.
I'll be home for Christmas
Have you ever felt the whiplash of a Christmas playlist?
One moment you're singing at the top of your lungs, smiling uncontrollably. The next, you're frowning as you think about everyone who can only be home for Christmas in their dreams.
It's as if Bing Crosby hears Brenda Lee and says, "Their happy is too loud." (Source)
So in a culture obsessed with happiness, the sad variety of Christmas music slows things down and sobers us up.
You gotta respect that, even if you do skip the slow ones now and again.
Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby, and Jesus Christ
What do Rockin Around The Christmas Tree and I'll Be Home For Christmas have to do with Jesus?
The answer is anticipation and longing for love, connection, and a life of joy.
Every year as we belt out the tunes with Mariah Carey and Josh Groban, we enact a secular version of Advent.
Advent is all about the realism of the surrounding darkness and the anticipation of dawning light.
And Advent recognizes that all our longings find their fulfillment in Jesus. There's no other suitable source for the life we crave.
When you find yourself singing Hark The Herald Angels Sing or Underneath The Tree, remember this Christmas that all the joy you feel and all the unfulfilled longing for more is a whisper from your soul.
Your soul whispers to turn to Jesus — to seek him with your whole heart this Christmas.
Because no amount of family, friends, or presents can fulfill your longings, Jesus alone can.
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