I am usually not a big booster of “Put Christ back into Christmas”. Even de-Christianized Christmas is a magical time, as it was to me as an atheist before my conversion, and I figure if the secular Christmas (known as “The Holidays”) still manages to touch the hearts of the unwashed Pagans out there, fine. We all know that there’s a special peace and joy to this time of year, and we see it in our pop culture, from movies about Santa Claus to secular “Holiday” music.
But something has happened.
We have two FM radio stations in St. Louis that have been playing non-stop holiday music since Halloween. On the road this past week I picked up several more, from Kansas City to Omaha. These stations play what must be a corporate play list, a pre-packaged group of seasonal songs that are put together and approved by the mega-corporations that own most of this country’s radio stations. The music is usually not too bad, although newer music is favored over older tunes.
But there was a problem. What began to strike me was how often we were hearing the same songs over and over again. Out of the vast field of recorded Christmas music, we were hearing Karen Carpenter’s “Merry Christmas, Darling” and a cover version of “Jingle Bell Rock” a lot, and my actress Maria finally pointed out to me what was going on.
We were hearing – for hours on end – nothing but secular Christmas music. The closest we came to a religious Christmas tune was Bing Crosby singing “Little Drummer Boy” in the background while David Bowie sang about peace in the foreground. All of the richness of songs such as “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night”, as sung and recorded by Christians, agnostics and Jews all these years is apparently left off the playlist deliberately.
This is in some ways worse than our Shadowy Masters telling Italians to remove crucifixes from public buildings. It’s worse because this is an example of what has become typically anti-Christian corporate mentality and the effects of an inner timidity. One form of censorship is censorship from above (bullying); the other is censorship from within (cowardice). It is the latter that will destroy us.
Secular Christmas music – even “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – is part of the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. “Rudolph” expresses one aspect of something that “Adeste Fideles” more fully expounds. Both songs are part of – or used to be part of – Christmas.
In the same way that we want sex without kids, we want the fun of Christmas without the challenge of Christ.
The wasteland continues to encroach upon the evergreens.