For most of my life, until recently, Christmas music began at least mid-October, if not a bit earlier, because that’s when rehearsals for performances of Christmas music began in the volunteer music groups I have been a part of since early childhood. For a large part of my life, Christmas music began even earlier–sometimes soon after Easter, in fact–because in many cases I was responsible for the selection of material, rehearsal, production and direction of such programs, often for several different groups, and sometimes even in different venues with different organizations in the same year.
And a few times, such preparation begged for new music, or new arrangements suited to a particular program, which also fell to me to write or arrange.
So, folks who rail against Christmas music played before Thanksgiving really amuse me. I now listen to Christmas music for enjoyment, enrichment, and sometimes () with an ear to performance all throughout the year, whenever the mood strikes, for while Easter is definitely the single most important Holy Day for Christians, the celebration of the Incarnation is a celebration of the promise that Easter fullfills.
And so, when I listen to Christmas music–real Christmas music, not pop pap, these words always echo in the back of my mind somewhere:
Trees and lights and bells and carols,
Bright-wrapped packages piled high;
Winter’s sharp blow joins the heralds:
“Christmastime is nigh!”
Mailmen hurry; shoppers scurry;
Time is fleeing – Oh! So fast!
Parties gather, loud and merry,
Grander than in Christmas’ past.
Pause a moment to remember
That a Savior’s simple birth
Still stirs angel wings in susur’ –
“Peace to men; good will on earth!”
Now the Father’s hands that molded
The first Adam in the clay,
Gently ’round a manger folded,
Cradle a Baby in the hay.
So the Greatest Gift extended,
Gift of love and peace to all,
“God’s great love to man descended”
Calls us to a manger stall.
— “The Gift” ©1990 David W Needham
So, yeh, if it’s not pop pap (or pop crap like “Merry Christmas Baby” or other such crap songs), I’m all in for Christmas music year-round.