It was the first Sunday in December a couple years back when a gentlemen stopped me at the back of the Worship Center two minutes before I walked onto stage. With a stern look on his face he asked, “Are we actually going to sing some Christmas songs this year?” Apparently he had been to some church services in years past where Christmas songs were ignored for one reason or another, and he wanted to make sure that his voice was heard. While I don’t know his motives in asking this, he was definitely speaking into a conversation that has many voices and opinions. Church goers, worship leaders, and pastors alike are asking this question, “Do we need to sing Christmas songs?”
I’ve noticed in my own leadership an attraction to certain songs and styles and an aversion to others. It’s doubtful you’d ever catch me singing country music. It would be easy to pick songs based on preference, tradition, or even outside pressure for what songs people are requesting. But a worship leader isn’t called to pick songs just because they like them or they know they will get applauded for leading them. They aren’t in leadership to do what has always been done for the sake of tradition either. Worship leaders are theologians. They are called to shepherd the flock joyfully through the songs they put in front of God’s people and that’s why Christmas songs matter.
Christmas songs matter because thinking rightly about God matters.
“Run Run Rudolph” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” are fun, but those aren’t what I’m referring to. Jesus-centered Christmas songs that hail the virgin birth is crucial to the good news of the gospel. If Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, he would not have been God. If he wasn’t God, his death would not have accomplished our eternal redemption. The virgin birth is just as important as Christ’s bodily resurrection. Without it, we would still be dead in our sin and without hope. Simply put, asking if we should sing Christmas songs is the same as asking if we should sing songs about Jesus rising from the dead.
Whether you gravitate toward the nostalgia of Christmas melodies or not, I hope that you will seek to sing songs about the Promised One of Israel who came to save his people from their sins. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16).