Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas Carol or Christmas Song?

Some of us may still be confusing the difference between Christmas carols and Christmas songs, especially when we are going around spreading the joy of Christmas in our neighbourhood, community, or even church (including the times we go around Christmas carolling). While the two are "supposingly" about Christmas, their wording and purpose are actually quite different.

Christmas carols contain wording concerning the birth of Jesus Christ and some description of the Nativity, including key figures surrounding or concerning the Nativity scene. There are many traditional Christmas carols which may have not been sung for quite some time, and surely through sufficient practice, one could learn how to sing them well.

Christmas songs, on the other hand, are generally secular in nature, and concern more about stuff like Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Winter, Snow and other similar topics. Quite often, such songs are used to promote a secular and "materialistic" idea of Christmas, especially in shopping malls trying to cash in on the season. A classic example would be songs containing the words "white Christmas," "sleigh ride," and "snow." Even if there is an attempt to promote the feeling of Christmas, would such songs actually convey the true meaning of Christmas, that is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? Also, would such words really and honestly mean anything to people who are in the tropics or where Christmas is during summer time? (For example, in Australia, Christmas is summer time in December).

So, as Christians, perhaps we should relook at what we are singing. Are we singing about Jesus, His Nativity, and important scenes and figures surrounding or concerning His birth? Or are we singing merely about the season of Christmas, something of a "feel good" experience, without having anything to do with Jesus? What then is the true meaning and focus of Christmas?

1 comment:

  1. Agree with your statement, Fr. Kooi. Carolers that are sent out by the church are fulfilling an old custom to tell of the Nativity to all. This is a form of evangelization: a bringing of the Christ child into the homes of those we sing to. Hence, perhaps it would be good to advise church carollers to carefully consider the lyrics of the carols.

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