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Sounds in the Holiday Season

With the start of the Christmas season comes many wonderful traditions, which includes listening to Christmas songs we all know and love. During the month of December, it’s not unusual to turn on the radio and hear several stations playing holiday hits, both new and old. Celebrities even host their own television specials where they perform their favorite Christmas carols, and audiences anticipate them every year. So why all the excitement for a collection of songs that we listen to only once a year? It seems that Christmas music — especially particular songs and artists — connects us with fond memories of our past, and reminds us of why we celebrate the holiday.

While there are so many beloved Christmas songs, only a certain few are truly considered classics. Artists such as Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby come to mind, especially for their renditions of “The Christmas Song” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” respectively. What is Christmas without “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “candy canes and silver lanes aglow”? The voices of Cole and Crosby provide such warm images of spending Christmas with family and friends, which is why they are such staples of the season. There’s also Andy Williams, who explains every December why “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Several other timeless singers like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Carpenters stand out, but there are many more styles of Christmas songs to explore.

A good amount of our favorite Christmas songs come from Christmas movies we grew up watching. Who could forget the Peanuts kids skating to “Christmas Time is Here,” or their ever-popular dance moves to “Linus and Lucy” in “A Charlie Brown Christmas?” There are also tunes that were adapted into TV specials after their musical success: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” are two examples. But there is one song in particular that evokes such beautiful imagery of community due to its appearance in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Without spoiling the plot, George Bailey and his family are overwhelmed by the generosity of their neighbors, and the entire group bursts into singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Tears glisten in George’s eyes as he considers not just the physical gift he’s just been given, but the priceless gift of friendship.

While most Christmas music is treasured for nostalgia’s sake, there is a greater message that countless Christmas songs are trying to convey. The glory of Christ’s birth is revealed through a number of hymns. They discuss the incredible mystery of God becoming human for our sake. The song “O Come All Ye Faithful” declares the joyous truth of His coming: “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!” In the carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” the singer assures us that we need not fear knowing the Savior was born “To free all those who trust in Him//From Satan’s pow’r and might.” These songs point us to Jesus’ first coming, but they also capture our great anticipation for His second coming. “O Holy Night” points to this good news when it exclaims, “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices// For yonder breaks a new glorious morn.” Our celebration during Advent season has everything to do with the birth of Jesus, his precious sacrifice on the cross, and our hope found in the gospel.

Therefore, we treasure Christmas music every year for the memories that go along with it, as well as the truth it shares about our reason for celebration. This Christmas season, let’s delight in all these fun and festive songs that tell us the wonderful news, “the Lord has come!” So

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