I started listening to Christmas music this week.
Normally, my rule is to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I could not resist. I love Christmas, and I love Christmas music.
As an adult, I realize the importance of giving thanks before moving into the season of Advent and Christmas. I also recognize a tug within me to extend the season as long as possible. The pressing question is why. Why do I, along with many others, enjoy Christmas music so much we want to start it long before Christmas arrives? What is it about the music that makes our hearts sore?
One may speculate that it may be due to the lack of minor chords and only bright notes. But many Christmas songs are full of these melancholy notes — “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” for instance. All Christmas music does not consist of happy instruments like bells and trumpets. The answer, instead, lies in the content of the message. Almost every Christmas song has hope. Put that hope alongside uplifting childhood memories and the magic of music bypassing our intellect to reach our emotions, and something powerful happens. Hope comes alive inside of us.
Much of our day and our year consists of mundane tasks and responsibilities. Some days we wonder, what else can break? What obstacles do I have to face today? This does a number on our minds and after a while, it drains our spirits.
When Jesus was born into this world, the faithful had routinely followed some 613 laws of the Jewish faith. Everyone else was busy with their daily drudge. But this newborn king was about to light the fires of hope in those who had lost it.
Christmas is the remembrance of that birth. It should elicit profound feelings of joy. It should combine the memories of the past, with the hope of today and the promise of joy forever. Christmas rekindles the flame that has grown tired over the course of the year. Who can blame us for wanting to start that process early?
Luckily, every day can be a celebration in Christ. Every day can include the giving and receiving of service and encouragement through our words, and deeds. Every day, all year long, we can sing a song of hope that drives away despair, because that child has already been born and lives inside of us today.