Recently, in the last couple days, I’ve been in places where I have to listen to loud, canned, “Christmas” music. I didn’t have to strain to hear the words; they were loud and clear. In one well-known chain coffee shop I have heard dozens of “seasonal” songs but not one about Jesus–directly or indirectly. One song is about Santa Claus and contains the words “Santa brings us peace” and “Santa brings us all love.” There is no doubt that the song’s writer intended to replace Jesus with Santa Claus in the Christmas mythos. I asked a waiter why the store plays only secular “Christmas” music and he said they get complaints if they play anything religious. I said “Please tell the manager that I’m a customer, too, and I’m offended that the store plays only secular “Christmas” music.” He just looked at me like I have two heads.
Even as I write this I hear several Christian voices answering me in my mind. “Let the pagans have the holiday” (Rodney Clapp) is one that I respect. Maybe I’m just too old, but I have trouble going with that. Christians are still a significant portion of this society and our celebration of this holiday should at least be acknowledged and taken seriously by those who want our business.
I say play music of all the celebrations of the season–Jewish, Christian, African-American, secular, etc.
Of course the other response I agree with entirely is that the “real” idolatry of the season is the excess of consumerism, not music.