The other day I was driving to CVS, and I had on the local FM station that plays 24/7 Christmas music during this season. It's such a great idea because it puts the audience in the mood for the holidays and family and gathering and just being together. In theory, it's a positive thing, and I'm thankful that KOST 103.5 FM has been keeping up this tradition.
OK, let's nitpick for a quick moment, before I return to the happy Christmas feels. But seriously, have you really paid attention to the lyrics of some of these Christmas songs? I'm not talking about the traditional Christmas carols, of course, because those are actually about the Christmas Mystery. Back to those in a moment. But let's take this one for example:
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Cute song, to be sure. Fun to sing, yeah! Love this song! Christmas? Heck no. It's about winter and sleigh-riding, which I'm sure they didn't do in the Judean Mountains at any point in history, unless of course you blame Climate Change. Actually, it's more like a winter carpe diem song or something, akin to Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," where he famously says, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may...Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry; For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry."
Then there's "Winter Wonderland":
Gone away is the bluebird
Again, another fun song to sing, and perfectly innocent. But isn't it more like an ode to the coming Spring or something? One bird gone, the new one on its way. I suppose you could make a stretch and have the idea that the coming of Jesus is the end of the old age and the start of the new, but yeah, it's a stretch.
I guess I'm thinking about these lyrics because our politically correct, anti-Christian society has worked hard to secularize Christmas, which is both hilarious and offensive and insane and tragic all at once. Take for example, the Kentucky school that recently scoured out all references to Christianity for their production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Superintendent Thomas Salyer had this to say:
As superintendent of Johnson County Schools, I recognize the significance of Christmas and the traditions and beliefs associated with this holiday. Over the past few days, there have been several rumors indicating that there would be no Christmas plays this year at our elementary schools. I want to clarify that all programs will go on as scheduled. In accordance with federal laws, our programs will follow appropriate regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacities and during school activities. However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday. With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.”
This raises a big question in my mind: why would any society take on the "spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens" during the month of December specifically? Shouldn't we take on that spirit all the time? Why does the month of December somehow become a special time to think about that? Why not in August? How about mid March? Does that work? Early July perhaps?
In fact, those are excuses and signs of total weakness on the part of that district and any other school who has done that. This Superintendent promotes the values of "service, integrity, leadership, and commitment," which is fine, but what does that have to do with the month of December? Where does this individual think these values come from? Sure, one could say from basic human decency, and that would be correct, but more specifically related to Christmas, one would have to admit that these values are rooted in God's love for us, and the dignity that we possess precisely because we are His creation.
This painting, unlike the censored school play or the winter songs jingling from the radio, touches the very heart of the Christmas Mystery, the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at the serenity of the Blessed Virgin, the wonder of St. Joseph, the love of the angels at the Christ Child's feet. In an eternal sense, all "service, integrity, leadership, and commitment" springs from this very moment because Christmas is more than just a cute story about a baby born in a barn. Social justice types like to reduce the Christmas Mystery to a homeless teen mother and her husband who are denied shelter and must therefore resort to the indignity of a cave. Where the public school censors make Christmas a feel-good winter hoedown, the social justice crowd makes it political.
They're both wrong.
Rather than telling you what Christmas is, I encourage you to meditate on this painting and read these words from the Douai-Rheims Bible:
And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled.  This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.  And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David,  To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.
witty; cunning; crafty
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