Russell Moore shares a story of dropping into a lo- cal bookstore and overhearing a man talk about why he hated Christmas music. Moore wrote:
This guy started by lampooning one pop singer’s Christmas album, and I found myself smiling in agreement on how awful it is. But then he went on to say that he hated Christmas music across the board. That’s when I started to feel as though I might be in the presence of the Grinch. But then this man explained why he found the music so bad ... It was boring. “Christmas is boring because there’s no narrative tension,” he said. “It’s like reading a book with no conflict.”
No conflict. Every good story has conflict!
Moore noted that the man’s anti-Christmas music monologue occurred right after one of America’s most gut-wrenching shooting incidents. He continued:
For him, the tranquil lyrics of our current Christmas songs couldn’t encompass such terror. I think he has a point ... The first Christmas carol, after all, was a war hymn. Mary of Nazareth sings of God’s defeat of His enemies, about how, in Christ ... He “has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate,” (Luke 1:52). There are some villains in mind there.
Simeon’s song, likewise, speaks of the “fall and rising of many in Israel,” and of a sword that would pierce the heart of Mary herself. Even the “light of the Gentiles” he speaks about is in the context of warfare ... God’s light overcomes the darkness (John 1:5), and frees us from the grip of the devil, (2 Corinthians 4).
Our corporate worship often ignores this spiritual warfare ... In a time when we seem to learn of a new tragedy every week, the unbearable lightness of Christmas seems absurd to the watching world. But even in the best of times, we all know that we live in a groaning universe, a world of divorce courts and cancer cells and concentration camps. Just as we sing with joy about the coming of the Promised One, we also ought to sing with groaning that He is not back yet, sometimes with groanings too deep for lyrics.
We actually have a rich, complicated, and often appropriately dark collection of Christmas hymn stories. God came into the world that was violently opposed to Him! He came as light in the darkness. He came to bring life to those who are dying. He came to rescue souls that are embittered with selfishness so that His own Spirit might take up residence within us. We can sing of blessings flowing “far as the curse is found,” of the one who came to “free us all from Satan’s power.” Let’s sing that, every now and then, where we can be overheard!
-Pastor Kevin Lantz
Resource: Russell Moore, “The Problem With Our Holly, Jolly Christmas Songs,” Russell Moore blog (11-29-16)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.