Christmas music before December (and why it might be okay)

Sydney Brummel—Staff Writer

After reading the title of this article, I can imagine what you’re thinking: “Oh, look: another person who thinks it’s super hipster to listen to Christmas music before December.” Believe me—I understand your skepticism. I too have rolled my eyes multiple times at Instagram stories and Facebook posts in which people share themselves listening to Christmas songs in the month of October as if it’s some novel, extraordinary occurrence (spoiler alert: it’s not).

Every year, without fail, the months of November and December feature the resurrected debate regarding the acceptability of Christmas music immediately after October 31. Is it too early to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving? Should I be waiting until Christmas Break to listen to “All I Want for Christmas is You”? Should I stop playing my Christmas playlist on December 26?

My opinion? No.

I’m not saying we all should blast the Christmas hits of Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, and Frank Sinatra at any time of the year. Because, in all honesty, your backyard oak tree full of green leaves in the 80-degree, mid-July weather is not “beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” I, for one, am not “dreaming of a white Christmas” when the streets of Sioux Center are still lined with the brilliant shades of autumn. Why sing about going on a “sleigh ride” when it’s still in season to navigate a corn maze, sip a cup of hot apple cider, and carve a pumpkin with friends?

Every part of the year has something special to offer. We celebrate each holiday for a distinct reason. When Thanksgiving rolls around, we should never take for granted this amazing day particularly set aside to commemorate God’s blessings. In reality, we should be practicing our gratitude all year long. And when Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday approaches, may we never forget to observe, and sing of, Christ’s redeeming sacrifice and the absolute wonder and joy of His promising resurrection. Without doubt, this is an event worthy of year-long celebration and beyond. Do you see the pattern?

And Christmas. 

There really is something unspeakably special about December 25 and the time we spend anticipating it. I’m not necessarily referring to the perfectly trimmed tree with colorful ornaments sitting in your living room, or to the wrapped presents underneath. I’m not talking about the snowfall we can watch from our windows or all the goodies we make together. I’m not even talking about all those annual family reunions, though these may be treasured pieces in the stunning mosaic of the Christmas spirit.

What I mean is that, as Christians, what really makes Christmas one-of-a-kind is why we started our celebrations in the first place. “The reason for the season” might sound cliché, but isn’t it true? Surely, we haven’t blended the significance of the holiday with its more secular traditions so much that we shun any and all premature Christmas music. Is it really so unacceptable to play or sing “Hark the Herald” or “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in November or even October? I do not believe so.

Ponder those lyrics that many of us have sung time and time again, year after year: “Noel, Noel! Born is the King of Israel;” “Son of the Father, now in flesh appearing;” “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Those words and the truth that is rejoiced through them—must they really be bound to a single month of the year? Is it really too bold of a concept to celebrate the birth of our Savior in song before and after December?

Perhaps the secular holiday songs— “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” etc.— as fun, nostalgic, and meaningful as they are, can wait a little longer. I’ll leave that up to each person’s discretion. Certainly, take time to appreciate the specialness of each time of year, whether that’s Thanksgiving, Easter weekend, or even summer break. But do not be afraid to play an Easter tune or two that recalls the glorious resurrection of Christ even though it may be the middle of September. Don’t be ashamed to play a Christmas song that praises the advent and miraculous birth of Jesus just because it’s technically “out of season.” No truth of the Bible—regardless of whether it’s found in Luke 2—should be confined to a singular holiday season.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Gloria in excelsis Deo, all year long.

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