I am a Christian. That's not exactly been a secret around here, I'm just throwing it out in case you're new. But here's the thing this time of year: I don't much care if you're a "Happy Holidays" person or a "Merry Christmas" person.
If people want me to tell them "Happy Holidays," I'll tell them "Happy Holidays." It doesn't make a lick of difference to me. I celebrate Christmas either way.
I have a big giant soapbox here, which I'll spare you - mostly.
Suffice to say I'm a big proponent of the separation of Church and State. I don't think that insisting that "America" (the government, the institution) be Christian is nearly as important (or effective) as insisting that the American church does it's job - that Christians in America share Jesus with people.
Nowhere in the Bible (or in the Constitution) does the word "Christmas" appear, and Jesus never asks anyone to celebrate his birthday. Now - I'm glad we do, because it's significant and history-changing and beautiful and it means that He came for us - and I'd hate for us to miss an opportunity to tout that. But say we lived in a place where the culture didn't get its panties in a wad about Santa vs. no Santa or Christmas vs. Holidays - a place like, oh, most other places in the world.
I doubt we'd spend our time lobbying for "Merry Christmas" to be printed on the greeting cards. We'd probably celebrate Christmas as Christians and try to live out our faith in word and deed. After all, nobody was ever sued or litigated into heaven.
I said I'd spare you the soapbox. This is me intentionally cutting off this train of thought. Are you proud of me? You should be. I have a lot more to say. This rabbit hole goes for miles. But I'm stopping, really. Look.
There is, however, one Christmas v. Holiday battle that I will fight. I'm talking guerrilla warfare if it comes to that.
Imagine with me, if you will, a world in which all the songs that celebrate the love of God and the birth of Jesus were stricken from the record and from HALLOWEEN TO NEW YEARS the only songs we could catch on the radio, in stores, at the symphony, and at every parade and festival were songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Two full months of "Jingle Bells," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "The 12 Days of Christmas," and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer????"
My ears are bleeding just thinking about it.
There are some great holiday songs, to be sure, but I can only listen to so many renditions of "The Christmas Song" and "Let it Snow." I don't care if you are Sarah McLachlan, eventually it's all just nails on a chalkboard.
I need the beauty. I need the depth, passion, and sacred holiness of "Silent Night," "O Holy Night," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Joy to the World," "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "The First Noel," "Away In A Manger," and "Angels We Have Heard On High."
We absolutely cannot get rid of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "We Three Kings," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
There is no holiday song that can scratch the surface of the preciousness of,
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining Til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices! For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"
I don't give a flip if you send me holiday cards. I won't bat my eyelashes for a second at your holiday tree, your holiday vacation, your holiday meal, or your holiday-anything-else. But please, please, please don't leave us all with holiday music.
Artists, don't let the pressure get to you. Sing to us about the beauty of the rich tradition of Jesus.
We can not have 60 days of "Santa Baby." WE CAN. NOT. HAVE IT.
(Listen to my new favorite Christmas music here, and enjoy a free download for kateelizabethconner.com readers! You'll love it!)