I’ve been called a Grinch. It’s true. I have an unusual pet peeve . . . Christmas carols in church before Christmas.
The reason I have been called a Grinch is that when worship leaders make me sing Christmas carols in November and early December, I get grumpy. Downright growly. And, I’m not usually quiet about it. (You know, like that baby Jesus, who never cried . . . no, that’s not me.)
The reason I get grumpy and growly is because when we ignore Advent and bring out the carols too soon, we shout, loud and clear, that we don’t know our own stories. That we (the church and her worship leaders), don’t have any clue how to be true to the narrative of scripture. We advertise that we really don’t recognize how to be counter cultural. When we ignore the liturgical calendar, which helps us to sing the seasons, and sound the story, we train our community that culture trumps story.
This post is a reminder that Christmas is a season, but it started on December 25th, and it lasts until Epiphany. You know that, right? You’re teaching your congregation that Israel waited, right? That the darkness of Advent is a metaphor for the waiting? That God’s people were hoping and longing and . . . that’s right . . . waiting!? And then, during the season of Christmas, we get to remind each other that the celebration of a child born in Bethlehem BROKE TIME AND SPACE with its remarkable mystery? That the darkness turns inevitably toward light? That the angels announcing GOD’S INCARNATE PRESENCE was only the beginning of miracles and wonders that had been foretold, but had also been long forgotten?
So, I confess, maybe I should have told you that part at the beginning of Advent. But now that we’re here, in the season of Christmas, let’s not just dismiss it, along with the dead tree dropping its needles and the bags of crumpled wrapping paper waiting for garbage day.
Let’s celebrate! We have two Sundays and all of Epiphany to sing it out. To proclaim the Good News. To lift up the LIGHT that has come into the world. Let the Christmas carols resonate throughout the Christmas season!
Big Daddy Weave
Tafelmusik Orchestra and Choir