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Christmas Song Lyrics

December 15, 2014

All my life I’ve been a little confused by the lyrics of Christmas songs.

I noticed this trait as a preschooler when my mother took me with her to a ladies tea party with the women of our church.  I was playing quietly as they talked and there were Christmas songs playing in the background.  The lyrics to the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” caught my attention and left me puzzled.

Not being able to figure out why his “mommy was kissing Santa Claus” or “what a laugh it would have been” if his daddy had seen it I decided to ask my mom to explain it.  My question triggered a round of near-hysterical laughter among the ladies present that I didn’t understand.  My mother told me she would explain it when we got home, something she never did.  I am happy to report that, eventually, I figured it out on my own.

In the same phase of life “Silent Night” also left me puzzled, particularly over what “round yon virgin” meant.  Having learned my lesson from the previous incident with mommy and Santa Claus I decided not to ask but, here too, I am happy to report that the passage of time, and a schoolyard chat with my friend Charlie Klusterhof, enabled me to get that one.

I am still somewhat confused by the lyrics of “Oh Holy Night.”  If someone wants to enlighten me on the meaning of the lyrics “’Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth” please do so; particularly what it means that “the soul felt its worth.”

There is, however, one part of that song that is not hard to understand at all.  This is it:

“Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.”

I saw on the new yesterday that it was “#Black Lives Matter” Sunday in churches across the land.  There were two pastors, one black, one white, who appeared and told us that it was a day for churches from coast to coast to encourage people to wear black to services and to stand firmly for justice and fair treatment of young black men.  The sentiment is certainly consistent with the above-quoted lyrics of “O Holy Night.”

Yet I wonder how many white evangelical churches marked the day.  I wonder too how many of us could sing those lyrics without a second thought of how they apply to contemporary America.


From → Christianity

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