As a child, I couldn't wait till the first Sunday morning after Thanksgiving because I knew we'd be singing Christmas carols at church that morning. Those songs in the back of the hymnal, tucked away for this joyous time of year. It seemed as though those songs not only called for smiling faces and glistening eyes of praise, but it also filled your heart and soul with warmth that radiated throughout your whole body. "Joy to the world, the Lord is come...."
Then, I became an adult, and I got a job while going to college. The hustle and bustle of the holidays became my reality. As I folded shirts over and over and over (so much that I even dreamed about folding them) those same songs played in a continual loop through my eight hour shift. Those songs were stuck in my head for weeks after the season was over. Christmas in the retail world is almost forced upon you. When I began working retail, nearly fifteen years ago, at least they waited till after Halloween to start adorning the stores with Christmas decorations and merchandise.
For the few years I spent working retail, my childlike wonder of the Christmas season was stifled. The joy of the season was beyond my ability. What was so happy about cranky people wanting something for nothing, complaining because we were out of boxes or that we didn't have more registers open. No, those holly, jolly souls zapped the Christmas spirit right out of me. As a matter of fact, I began to dread Christmas. Those songs that played over the PA system were like annoying jingles from your least favorite commercial, or that song on the radio that nearly causes you to wreck as you hurriedly try to change the station. The fact that they were stuck in my head was enough to drive me crazy, and I usually opted to sing them in an annoying voice to somewhat vent my frustration.
Thankfully, oh sooo thankfully, that time of my life is long since over! Praise the Lord! I have regained my love of Christmas, and the reason for the season-not Santa Clause, bargain prices or gift exchanges. I have even more reason to love Christmas because I experienced the retail world and because I am no longer a part of it!
But, the love/hate relationship of the songs is a never ending drama in my mind. I still feel like we're trying to make our now itunes money count by beginning to play them well before Thanksgiving. At church, I still want a little worship music mixed into the service and not all Christmas songs. I like Bing's "White Christmas," and no other version suits me. Karen Carpenter's "Merry Christmas Darling," and Mariah Carey's "Joy to the World" are an absolute must. But when I hear some of those Muzak favorites, I still cringe a little.
The songs about the real, true meaning of Christmas will never make me cringe, or will never grow old for me. They are what makes us stop and think about that glorious night so many years ago, when God Himself decided to grace this earth with His presence. He decided to leave all the splendor of Heaven to be born in a manger. He was born, so that He could die. For us. And so that we wouldn't have to die, but could live with Him for eternity. Now that's Christmas, and that's worth singing about.
Merry CHRISTmas!!!! Celebrate Jesus!!!!
What's Coming Through My Speakers This Season:
- The Angels Cried - Alan Jackson & Alison Krauss
- There's a New Kid in Town - Alan Jackson & Keith Whitley
- Breath of Heaven - Amy Grant
- Do They Know - Boyz II Men
- Silent Night - Boyz II Men
- Labor of Love - The Isaacs
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Karen Carpenter
- Merry Christmas Darling - Karen Carpenter
- There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays - Karen Carpenter
- Mary Did You Know - Kathy Mattea
- Joy to the World - Mariah Carey
- O Holy Night - Mariah Carey
- O Come All Ye Faithful - Matthew West
- Leaving Heaven - Matthew West
- Christmas Makes Me Cry - Matthew West & Mandisa
- Christmas Time is Here - MercyMe
- Blue Christmas - Michael Buble
- I'll Be Home For Christmas - Michael Buble
- Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - Michael Buble