I had an idea last Sunday, while sitting in church thinking about the hymns that we sing at Christmas time. I thought it would be nice to come up with a favorite Christmas hymn to share on Facebook for every day of the month leading up to Christmas, as an advent, counting down to Christmas Day. I have made a list of my favorite Christmas songs and have been sharing one a day via Facebook to spread this Christmas joy through song.
I am of two opinions when it comes to music played during the Christmas season, and I think it is summed up pretty well by a tweet that I saw while watching the LDS First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional last night. It read, “Personal rant: If we talk about Santa and Elf on a Shelf more than we talk about Jesus, we’ve made our kids miss Christmas. ”
I absolutely love the hymns and carols that we sing at Christmas, but I do not enjoy many of the songs played on the radio. I believe it is the aversion I have to the cheesiness and commercialization that is invading Christmas, detracting and distracting from the reason we celebrate. I love singing about Jesus Christ and being reminded of who he was and what he did for us, but I do not care for singing about flying reindeer or snowmen come to life.
Things are starting to change a bit, as I now have a 3 year old, whose favorite movie at the moment is the classic animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and he enjoys singing the song from that movie, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. ” I guess there does need to be some of the fun and silly songs at Christmas, those songs that kids love to sing, but we have also been trying to play the traditional hymns and carols that teach of Jesus Christ.
We have made a simple advent calendar, hanging on the wall, and each night there is a slip of paper with a verse of scripture, a Christmas hymn, and a family activity for us to do together as we count down until Christmas. We pull out the slip of paper and read the scripture, then we talk a little bit about what the scripture means, then we play the song and then we have our activity. And our 3 year-old son must be getting something from this, because the last couple of nights, he has pulled out the slip of paper and told us, “We need to read scripture. ” Then he looks at the paper and says, “Jesus wants us to be nice and good. ”
And so, amid all of the fun of Christmas, the tree with its ornaments, the presents, the cartoons and everything, hopefully he is still picking up on the true meaning behind the holiday season, hopefully we are doing enough to reinforce his faith in Jesus Christ, hopefully he is developing a love of sacred hymns that teach eternal principles.