Guest / Limited Access /

Discussion Starter: Christmas

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to consider a challenge to a ban on religious carols in public schools. The decision underscored how singing "songs of good cheer" can be complicated. Some Christians believe that leading up to Christmas, churches should not sing carols that celebrate the birth of Christ. Others question the theology of some carols.

"Music leaders have a responsibility for the lyrical content of their selections, but they also recognize that music serves a different function than preaching. I tend to consider cases of questionable lyrics under a number of categories. … Some carols have odd or misleading lyrics, such as 'no crying he makes' from 'Away in a Manger.' This lyric misses a key aspect of the Incarnation: Jesus entered into our suffering. We don't sing that carol, but have instrumental arrangements of the melody."

"Only with great care. For thousands, carols will be their only link with a church. At the same time, sentimentality is perhaps the single most dangerous feature of our Church and culture—and the sentimental air is never thicker than at Christmas. The Incarnation is messy, dirty, and resonates with the crucifixion. We need a new wave of carol writing that can gradually swill out the nonsense and catch the piercing, joy-through-pain refrains of the New Testament."

"The time we set aside for corporate worship in song is precious, so while the idea of 'banning' certain Christmas carols is a little too Ebenezer Scrooge for me, pastors and worship leaders should select Christmas songs wisely (just as they should use care choosing which hymns and worship songs will give expression to their people's praise throughout the year.) The good news is that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
How Do I Explain Easter to My Children?
The reality of a human raised from the dead is hard enough for adults to understand, much less kids. But here are some approaches I've taken.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.