Carol who?

I'm watching Carols in the Domain right now (on the television obviously, since the Domain is in Sydney and I'm in Melbourne). In the true tradition of stripping all religion out of a religious holiday, we've seen some pretty bizzare things at this yearly event - for a few years there they had a love affair with The Circle of Life, which is somewhat weird for a Christmas event. Particularly notable, though, was the year they had a couple singing Amazing Grace to each other like a love song. I kid you not.

All of this this makes me wonder what the singers and the audience think about the words of the 'traditional' carols (a few of which still get sung at these events). This is an event where God never gets a mention, and Jesus certainly doesn't, yet they still sing words like these:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love.

(Joy to the World)

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark street shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

(O Little Town of Bethlehem)

...Man will live forever more because of Christmas Day.
(Mary's Boy Child)

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

(O Holy Night)

Watching this carols event I keep hearing the phrase "spirit of Christmas", by which they seem to mean 'family' or 'love' or 'togetherness' or whatever. It's all about being generous and being nice to each other. None of these things are bad... but is this what Christmas is really about? What do the songs say?
  • God is righteous, loving, truthful, glorious and wonderful; and he rules the world.
  • Jesus is the culmination of all humanity's hopes and fears.
  • The world lay in sin and error, without hope until Jesus appeared.
  • Because of Jesus, we can live forever.
I am so sick of this watering-down of Christmas. Don't tell me "we need to be inclusive". I don't ask Jewish people to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Happy Hannukah" because I think their religious holiday should include Christians also. Christmas is a Christian celebration. Yes, I'm fully aware that Jesus was not born on December 25; I'm also aware that Christians originally chose this date to coincide with a pagan festival. Those things don't change the fact that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Where did we get the idea that leaving Christianity in Christmas means we're not being inclusive? Christmas is all about inclusion... it's about God coming to earth as a man - and growing up, living and dying on our behalf so that everyone has the opportunity to be part of God's family.

I know some people will find this offensive, but frankly, I find it extremely offensive to be asked to say "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" when I want to be celebrating God's amazing love to us. "Joy to the world; the Lord has come!"
.

7 comments:

Louisa said...

Amen!

Givinya De Elba said...

Truer words were never spoken!

Givinya De Elba said...

I wish I (and you) had seen the Brisbane carols. A friend of mine said they were done by them Brisbane City Church and they were quite full-on Christian, complete with the Pastor getting the last word in - a straight-up message about Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. I believe that The Man In Red didn't get much of a look-in. Wow.

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

So true!

Dee from Downunder said...

Givinya is right, I saw those Brisbane Carols on TV, the religious message was made very clear throughout. It really stood out, having become so used to the other Carols (ie Sydney and Melbourne)

Hippomanic Jen said...

Hear, hear!

Femina said...

Oh, I wish I'd seen the Brisbane ones. However, my faith was restored after I drove past a local church on Sunday that had put up a MASSIVE Christmas banner that said, "Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners". No wishy-washiness there! :)

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