Christmas

Merry Christmas 2019!

Glorious Impossible isn’t technically a Christmas carol in the traditional sense, but it has quickly become one of my favorite modern Christmas worship songs precisely because of lyrics like this. This is our final meme for The Gospel According to Carols.

Merry Christmas. May God bless you this day with the knowledge and hope that the incarnation made possible the sinless perfection, the passion and crucifixion, and the glorious resurrection of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christmas

The “Merry Christmas” Melee

Originally Published December 6, 2010
melee

It’s that time of year again. Time for love and good cheer. Peace on earth. Joy to the world.

And war.

Over the last several years, there’s been a sometimes quiet and respectful, sometimes loud and obnoxious battle raging between conservative Christians and merchants over whether said merchants use the term “Merry Christmas” or the more general “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in their advertising and in greeting customers at their stores.

I don’t know about you, but it’s driving me bananas.

Would I prefer for everybody to say “Merry Christmas”? Sure. But on my list of things to have an aneurysm about, it falls somewhere between my dentist telling me I should floss more and deciding where to get the dog a pedicure. I just really don’t care that much. And I’m wondering, in the grand scheme of things that should be pressing upon Christians’ hearts, should something this minor even register on the scale of issues that upset us?

What Do We Expect?

Speaking strictly numerically and statistically, genuine Christians– not just people who say they’re Christians and/or go to church, but people who have actually been regenerated by the blood of Christ –are a very small minority. Despite what you may hear to the contrary, the United States is not a Christian nation. It may have been founded on Biblically inspiried principles, but in practical societal terms today, this is a nation mostly made up of lost people.

This means that it’s a safe bet that the majority of the people at the helms of these corporations are lost. And guess what? Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and lost people gotta act like lost people (Romans 8:7). What this means is that their decision whether to use “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” has nothing to do with Jesus or respecting the “true meaning of Christmas”. Their decision is going to be based on what’s going to make the corporation the most money. If saying “Merry Christmas” will get more customers in the door, that’s what they’ll do. It doesn’t mean they’re honoring Christ, it mean’s they’re pandering to Christians.

When we exert pressure on these corporations to say “Merry Christmas”, what real change are we effecting? Are we not just creating more people who honor God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13)? Are we not sending them the subtle message that external behavior, rather than a reborn spirit, is what counts? One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). One day. But that day is not today. We can’t force change in people’s hearts by coercing them into saying “Merry Christmas”. And, to God, a change of heart is the only thing that matters.

Where Should Our Passions Lie?

I used to belong to a Christian “social issues” organization. In many ways, it’s a great organization. I got frequent e-mails from them regarding which social issues various corporations were investing their profits in, where politicians stood on the issues, and lots of other helpful information and resources.

But every autumn they would begin their annual “Merry Christmas” campaign. They have buttons you can order that urge people to say “Merry Christmas”. They have leaflets and stickers and videos you can order for your church to promote saying “Merry Christmas”. They publish a “Naughty and Nice” list of merchants who use “Merry Christmas” (nice) or some other wording (naughty), so you’ll know which stores to shop and which to boycott.

And it made me stop and think– how many man hours go into that campaign every year? How much money does the organization invest in it? How much money do churches and individuals spend on their materials? Is investing that much time and money in promoting “Merry Christmas” good stewardship?

We have brothers and sisters all over this planet who would give anything to own a copy of the Bible. There are crisis pregnancy centers that operate on a shoestring trying to help women and their babies. There are missionaries who live in poverty in third world nations taking the Gospel to those who have never heard it. There are people starving. There are children who have been kidnapped by human traffickers.

And “Merry Christmas” is what we want to get all worked up about?

What’s more upsetting to us, the fact that someone says “Happy Holidays” or the fact that the person who said it might die and spend an eternity in hell? Where do our passions truly lie? Are we passionate about the same things God is passionate about?

This Christmas, can we just focus on what’s important? We have a God who loves every person so deeply and so intensely, and whose mercy and grace are so unfathomable, that He came here personally to redeem us.

And there are people all around us who don’t know that.

And they desperately need us to love them enough to tell them that in Jesus there’s hope. A way out of their sin. A way to get clean. A secure eternity. Peace.

God and sinners, reconciled. Oh, what a Merry Christmas!

Christmas, Top 10

Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time ~ 2

Originally published December 7, 2018

There are so many fun and joyful Christmas carols and songs we love to sing at this time of year …. and so many that drive us bonkers! The Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time has become an annual tradition here on the blog. But every year I get more and more suggestions of songs to add to the list. There sure are a lot of cringey Christmas tunes being crooned out there! You asked for it, so here it is – in no particular order – ten more of my top picks for worst Christmas songs of all time.

1. Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas – I can just picture the artistic meetings that took place on this one: “We need a new Christmas song for your next album, John. Any ideas?” “How about a potential domestic violence case set to country music? That’ll fill everybody’s heart with Christmas cheer!” 

 

2. Dominick the Donkey
Dear Italy,
Please stick with what you do best – food.

 

3. Happy X-Mas, War is Over (So This Is Christmas) – Excuse me, but I think you’re looking for Woodstock. Go back several decades and hang a left.

 

4. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Why not? I wanted a monkey for Christmas when I was a kid. I stand in solidarity with this kid and every other kid who wanted a ridiculous animal for Christmas and never got one. (To be honest, I think this song is kinda cute {be sure to catch grown-up Gayla singing it at the end of the video}. I include it on behalf of all my readers who said it’s driving them to the loony bin.)

 

5. Hard Candy Christmas – Maybe I’ll wallpaper my bathroom. Maybe I’ll get a mohawk. Maybe I’ll eat cold Spaghettios right out of the can. MAKE👏UP👏YOUR👏MIND👏

 

6. Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time – There’s good 80’s synthesizer and there’s bad 80’s synthesizer. I’ll let you guess which one earned this song a spot on the list.

 

7. White Winter Hymnal – “It’s lyrically fairly meaningless.” That’s what the songwriter had to say about this song. Dude, lemme ‘splain you something about songwriting. When you have a cool piece of music like this, don’t waste it on meaningless lyrics. Collaborate with a good writer and make it an awesome song with meaning. (Let me also take this opportunity for my annual reminder: Pentatonix is not a Christian group, regardless of the songs they record. According to Pride magazine, “Two of Pentatonix’s members, Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, are openly gay, and the group vocally supports the LGBT community.)

 

8. Driving Home for Christmas – This song is the musical equivalent of driving across west Texas. And by that, I mean – monotonous. (Sorry west Texas, but you know it’s true.) At least he didn’t regale us with the number of each mile marker as he passed it. Thank the Lord for small favors.

 

9. I’m Gettin’ Nuttin for Christmas – Quick! Somebody get the rod of correction – this kid is out of control! Cute, but not your best work, Shirl.

 

10. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Kid witnesses Mom stepping out on Dad and is traumatized for life. Just one more reason not to lie to your kids about Santa Claus. (Tell them it’s Dad, ladies, and you can kiss him all you want! :0)

 

What do you think? Did your “worst song” make the list?

Christmas, Top 10

Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

Originally published December 12, 2014christmas 10

For me, part of the reason Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year” is the music. There are the old favorites as well as some great new songs that have come out over the years. Unfortunately, there are some stinkers out there, too. Everybody has her own taste, so the songs that give you the Christmas crazies are probably different from the ones that get on my nerves, but, here, in no particular order, are my ten picks for the worst Christmas songs of all time.

1. The Christmas Shoes– Hi, we’re going to write a song that’s a blatant attempt at emotional manipulation, and then if you say you don’t like it, people will think you’re heartless. Merry Christmas.

 

2. Last Christmas– Really? We have to listen to co-dependent whining about a break up in a Christmas song? And from Wham?

 

3. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer– This has such a catchy tune. It’s too bad the family in this song belongs on Jerry Springer.

 

4. Same Old Lang Syne– This is my pick for the absolute worst “Christmas” song (it really has nothing to do with Christmas) of all time. The only good thing I can say about this is, at least the people in the song didn’t actually have an affair. It’s bleak, it’s immoral, it’s depressing, and it’s the same four bars of melody over. and. over. and. over.

 

5. Must Have Been Old Santa Claus– “Happy ho, ho, ho to you.” Four million times. Kill me. Kill me now.

 

6. Baby, It’s Cold Outside– Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like attempted date rape by a drink drugging letch.

 

7. Santa Baby– They could have named this song “Sugar Daddy” or “Implied Sexual Favors in Exchange for Obscenely Expensive Gifts.” Same thing.

 

8. Mistletoe– I’m just going to make a rule right here, right now: no Christmas songs that force middle-aged people to go to Urban Dictionary to understand the lyrics. My kids had to explain to me what “shawty” means. Apparently, it’s similar to a “bae.”

 

9. Do They Know It’s Christmas?– Stop having Christmasy fun RIGHT NOW. Just STOP IT. Don’t you know there are people starving in Africa, you soulless oaf? And, seriously, who puts the word “doom” in a Christmas song?

 

10. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon– It pains me to list this one because I love TSO, I love children’s choirs, I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and I love the idea of trying to Christmas it up. But I would rather eat a ten year old fruitcake than listen to this.

 

 Agree? Disagree?
What do you think is the worst Christmas song of all time?

If you love to hate these 10, be sure to stop back by the blog on Friday for volume 2 of Top 10 Worst Christmas songs of all time!

Christmas

The “Merry Christmas” Melee

Originally Published December 6, 2010
melee

It’s that time of year again. Time for love and good cheer. Peace on earth. Joy to the world.

And war.

Over the last several years, there’s been a sometimes quiet and respectful, sometimes loud and obnoxious battle raging between conservative Christians and merchants over whether said merchants use the term “Merry Christmas” or the more general “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in their advertising and in greeting customers at their stores.

I don’t know about you, but it’s driving me bananas.

Would I prefer for everybody to say “Merry Christmas”? Sure. But on my list of things to have an aneurysm about, it falls somewhere between my dentist telling me I should floss more and deciding where to get the dog a pedicure. I just really don’t care that much. And I’m wondering, in the grand scheme of things that should be pressing upon Christians’ hearts, should something this minor even register on the scale of issues that upset us?

What Do We Expect?

Speaking strictly numerically and statistically, genuine Christians– not just people who say they’re Christians and/or go to church, but people who have actually been regenerated by the blood of Christ –are a very small minority. Despite what you may hear to the contrary, the United States is not a Christian nation. It may have been founded on Biblically inspiried principles, but in practical societal terms today, this is a nation mostly made up of lost people.

This means that it’s a safe bet that the majority of the people at the helms of these corporations are lost. And guess what? Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and lost people gotta act like lost people (Romans 8:7). What this means is that their decision whether to use “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” has nothing to do with Jesus or respecting the “true meaning of Christmas”. Their decision is going to be based on what’s going to make the corporation the most money. If saying “Merry Christmas” will get more customers in the door, that’s what they’ll do. It doesn’t mean they’re honoring Christ, it mean’s they’re pandering to Christians.

When we exert pressure on these corporations to say “Merry Christmas”, what real change are we effecting? Are we not just creating more people who honor God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13)? Are we not sending them the subtle message that external behavior, rather than a reborn spirit, is what counts? One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). One day. But that day is not today. We can’t force change in people’s hearts by coercing them into saying “Merry Christmas”. And, to God, a change of heart is the only thing that matters.

Where Should Our Passions Lie?

I used to belong to a Christian “social issues” organization. In many ways, it’s a great organization. I got frequent e-mails from them regarding which social issues various corporations were investing their profits in, where politicians stood on the issues, and lots of other helpful information and resources.

But every autumn they would begin their annual “Merry Christmas” campaign. They have buttons you can order that urge people to say “Merry Christmas”. They have leaflets and stickers and videos you can order for your church to promote saying “Merry Christmas”. They publish a “Naughty and Nice” list of merchants who use “Merry Christmas” (nice) or some other wording (naughty), so you’ll know which stores to shop and which to boycott.

And it made me stop and think– how many man hours go into that campaign every year? How much money does the organization invest in it? How much money do churches and individuals spend on their materials? Is investing that much time and money in promoting “Merry Christmas” good stewardship?

We have brothers and sisters all over this planet who would give anything to own a copy of the Bible. There are crisis pregnancy centers that operate on a shoestring trying to help women and their babies. There are missionaries who live in poverty in third world nations taking the Gospel to those who have never heard it. There are people starving. There are children who have been kidnapped by human traffickers.

And “Merry Christmas” is what we want to get all worked up about?

What’s more upsetting to us, the fact that someone says “Happy Holidays” or the fact that the person who said it might die and spend an eternity in hell? Where do our passions truly lie? Are we passionate about the same things God is passionate about?

This Christmas, can we just focus on what’s important? We have a God who loves every person so deeply and so violently, and whose mercy and grace are so unfathomable, that He came here personally to redeem us.

And there are people all around us who don’t know that.

And they desperately need us to love them enough to tell them that in Jesus there’s hope. A way out of their sin. A way to get clean. A secure eternity. Peace.

God and sinners, reconciled. Oh, what a Merry Christmas!