By Teresa Sayles, Children’s Curriculum Specialist
Woodland Hills Church
I love Christmas music. Seriously. I’ve been listening to it since before Thanksgiving. There’s just something about holiday songs that bring out the little kid in me. I get giddy and want to sing along and dance about and eat tons of sugary treats. Maybe that’s just me, but I do believe there’s something special about Christmas music. Our auditory senses are plugged directly into our memory banks, and a single strain of music can bring back images and feelings from long ago. And there’s something about sharing that music that draws us together. We gather our friends and family to sing carols around the piano or our neighborhood. We sit on the couch and chime along with Bing Crosby as he wishes for a white Christmas. We play it in the background of most all of our holiday activities, and it somehow makes the time brighter and more festive.
When I was a kid, we had a Disney Christmas record I would listen to over and over until it drove my mother crazy. I loved singing along with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and the rest of the crew as they sang all my favorite Christmas songs. I can still picture the album cover: A street bathed in blue light with all the Disney characters in their scarves and hats, sheet music in their mittens paws as they stood beneath the glow of a festively wreathed streetlamp. Just the memory of it makes me want to listen to it again. We’d play it while decorating our tree, baking cookies, or opening presents. But I think my favorite Christmas music tradition involves my Uncle Doug.
Since I was tiny, my Uncle Doug – a Kindergarten teacher – has been bringing his guitar every year to Christmas get-togethers on my dad’s side of the family. It’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas, and it’s probably the one Sayles family tradition that does not change each year aside from the oyster stew (don’t ask me why that one is – I don’t touch the stuff). He seems to like to wait until about three-fourths of the way through our time. Then, when he deems the time is right, he sneaks out and grabs his guitar case. As soon as he pulls out that guitar, we all know what’s coming. He’ll strum a minute, tune up the strings, and then – whoosh! – off we go! From Rudolph and Jingle Bells to Silent Night and The First Noel, he knows them all by heart, and so do we. The littlest ones dance around as he serenades them with Frosty the Snowman or Elvis’s Blue Christmas. Even those who aren’t into the singing itself love to come and just be in the room. There’s something special about that time when we’re gathered as a family around a single instrument and all singing the same words. It’s a time of uniting as a family, of bonding together once again.
Music is a powerful gift from God. It’s something that reaches deep into our souls, touches our hearts, and draws us toward something beyond ourselves. It unites us as we share in it together. Many of the traditional Christmas carols have beautiful lyrics that transcend the centuries and speak amazing truths about Christ and what His birth meant for all humanity. Even just reading the lyrics without the music can stir the soul. So the next time your favorite carol plays, take a moment to sing it. Really sing it. Allow the joy of the season to fill your heart, brighten your soul, and draw you closer to your family, your friends, and your Savior.