Now that we’re on the other side of “Black Friday”, we will be overexposed to enough Christmas music to choke a reindeer. After a trip to the mall yesterday, I’ve heard enough renditions of “Sleigh ride” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by auto-tuned pop tarts to make me lose my appetite for egg nog. Much like egg nog, Christmas can be tasty at first, and then if you over-indulge, it can make you a little nauseous. How does one retain one’s sanity whilst being subjected to this Kubrickian regiment of marketing yule? Here’s a few pointers that might help you stomach the next 27 days.
You might have to listen to Brittney Spears sing “Santa Baby” when you are out, but you don’t have to subject yourself to that kind of experience at home. Give yourself the gift of good music that retains a semblance of the sacred. A few years ago, a friend gave us tickets to see Handel’s “Messiah” and it was a wonderfully refreshing evening of worship. I give my wife a new Christmas recording every year for her birthday at the end of November so that we will be able to control at least some of the music that we have to listen to. I like to give our collection a wide variety of styles and moods. But what if you are feeling ready to get a little risky?
One way to beat the holiday blues is to do what comes naturally to folks from my generation: fight kitsch-fire with kitsch-fire. I like to get out the super sappy music and give myself a good dosing somewhere at the beginning of the season. Some folks will have the “Christmas Sweater” parties or something like that to play up the absurdity of Xmas. These ventures into PoMo can sometimes become overly cynical and self-destructive so after you let your inner hipster out for a few days, it’s best to bring it back to the gospels.
Go to the cross
Of course this is “the true meaning of Christmas”, right? A divine act of intervention on our behalf in order to redeem the lost. Advent is the thrill of hope in a weary world. Advent is all creation bursting into a glorious song for the triumphant Redeemer entering into the darkness. The manger is not sentimental kitsch. It is the first place of suffering and sacrifice that Jesus experience which placed him on a trajectory toward the cross of Calvary. Take time to listen to the hymns, listen to spirituals, even listen in the malls as the saccharine sentimental music is unintentionally prophesying that the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.