Monday, October 24, 2011

The Christmas Spirit

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.  --D&C 25:12

Halloween is still a week away, but I'm feeling the Christmas Spirit right now.  

A common complaint I have heard in previous years is that someone hears Christmas music on the radio when the Christmas Season hasn't even arrived yet.  Heck, even in seminary back in the day, there were protests at the very suggestion of cracking open Hymns 201-215 before Thanksgiving.  

Today I ask, "Why?"

I can understand the argument that playing Christmas music year-round might somehow make it less "special" when December finally comes along.  It's a Christmas thing--I get that.  Fireworks are for the Fourth of July, hearts are for Valentine's Day.  But let's look at it this way: do we only think about the Savior at Christmas or Easter?  Does the Atonement become "less special" if we only apply it when taking the sacrament on Sunday?  

Of course, any of us could answer that; as followers of Christ, we praise and celebrate Him always.  We have covenanted to "always remember Him" (Moroni 4:3).  "Always" means all the time.

And when we get right down to it, the Spirit of Christmas is, indeed, the Spirit of Christ.  

I have to give credit to those people I know who do listen to Christmas music year-round, for whatever reason (for the longest time, I thought that was weird, but I turned out being wrong.  Way to be!).  Likewise, I also have to point out that it's okay if we're not singing Christmas hymns in church every Sunday (please, no).  I'm just expressing a thought I didn't really have until this weekend.  Up till now, I was always one who stubbornly locked away the carols on December 26th, and didn't let them out again until the day after Thanksgiving.  But I'm realizing now that maybe it's not such a terrible offense to go caroling when everyone else is Trick-or-Treating.

My stake had its first choir rehearsal last night for our Christmas program in December.  It was a beautiful evening, filled with uplifting music about the Savior.  And I finally understood then what a great idea it was to pull this choir together even before Halloween; by inviting the Spirit of Christmas into our hearts, what we were really doing was inviting the Spirit of Christ.  And that's something we need all year.

I like to sing hymns while I work.  It doesn't make the boxes I have to lift any lighter, or fewer in number, but I feel a difference in my own capacity because the hymns invite the Spirit and strengthen me, reminding me of the things that bring me the most joy.  Today I sang Christmas carols during my shift, and they had the same effect.  The song of my heart was a prayer unto God, and I received the blessing even as I labored.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


olde.fashioned said...

I'm not sure why, but I absolutely love the idea of singing Christmas carols while working (though somehow I doubt that would translate very well to my job, ha ha!). Imagine the chills you'd get if you got the entire crew to do it along with you!!

Rachel Frost said...

My complaint with the early Christmas music is that most of it... really isn't about Christ. It's about snow and presents and lovers. There's nothing wrong with those things, but I don't want to hear them until there's ACTUALLY snow. Spiritual 'Christmas' songs are not Christmas songs, but songs about Christ, and you're right, there's nothing wrong with playing those at any time of the year.

Nathan said...

@ Rachel: You make an excellent point, with which I agree. I hadn't considered those other songs when I wrote this post, but it would be somewhat out of place to be singing something like "Winter Wonderland" or "Sleigh Ride" in the middle of July.

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