Christmas Music

I love Christmas music. Well, I should really be specific about what Christmas music I’m referring to. As I see it, there are two different types of “Christmas music.” The one that most people talk about are the jingly pop songs that some radio stations constantly as soon as Thanksgiving has passed (if not before). Most of the time, I don’t like this kind. In addition to distracting from the true meaning of the season, I find that many of these tunes are downright annoying. For example, as I was leaving the dining hall after brunch this afternoon, they were playing a version of “Walking in Winter Wonderland” in which the singer, at the end of the song, literally repeated the phrase “walking in a winter wonderland” somewhere between seven and ten times. I don’t see the point in that… While I do think this sort of music has its time and place, my “Christmas music” is very different.

Instead of the catchy radio jingles, I much prefer traditional Christmas hymns. I grew up in a church that focused on a more traditional style of singing and worship, with songs from hymnals with a choir and organ. Because this is what I am familiar with, I really like it, especially during Lent and Advent, the seasons leading up to Easter and Christmas, respectively. These times of the year have some of my favorite hymns of the Christian calendar. I really like all of their harmonies and reading the descant lines that nobody (but the voice in my head) really sings. And because I enjoy it so much, this sort of worship has come to be an integral part of Advent for me.

Maybe its just because I hadn’t gone to church in so many weeks prior to this past Sunday, but it doesn’t feel like it’s a week from Christmas yet. But even if I had been regularly attending PCD, the church I am considering making my “school” church, I’m not sure it would really feel like Advent anyway. I appreciate contemporary worship styles as much as traditional hymns in most cases, but I was pretty disappointed in the Christmas music we sang. The version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” was at least 30 beats per minute faster than I’m used to hearing it and the music had a strange mix of styles I can only describe as being contemporary Christian, country and Middle Eastern all at once. To be completely honest, I hated it. The other Advent song we sang, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” wasn’t much better. Let’s just say that I can’t wait to get back home to my original church, and its music.

Also, to be fair, I should explain that I do like many non-traditional versions of classic hymns. I especially like Jars of Clay’s holiday album Christmas Songs, but when it comes to actually being a part of worship leading up to Christmas, I much prefer a traditional approach. I think that’s all I have to say about that right now.

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