Too Soon to Listen to Christmas Music?

Christmas musicI have to admit that I’ve slowly been working Christmas music into my music listening in the last couple of weeks. Every year I hear the same complaint that it’s too soon to be listening to Christmas music, that I should wait until at least after Thanksgiving. “Don’t get ahead of yourself,” people tell me.

It’s not that I’m trying to get to Christmas sooner or resist living in the moment. I embrace the Halloween fun. I’m engaged in my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. And when Christmas does come I’m completely present to it. What gets me listening to Christmas music so early is actually something bigger than Christmas Day.

Christmas music indicates to me a change of season. We move from the independence of the summer, the trips to the beach, the sunbathing, and the “me time” into a season where family becomes a more central focus. The last three months of the year bring loved ones together. For me Christmas music represents the nostalgia of holidays past, of a time where God is made present in those special moments with family and friends. It has the same effect as sweater weather, pumpkin pie, and eggnog. These things are all part of the sacramentality of life. Certain things help us find the presence of God in the day to day.

So as the first pinch of cold is felt in the air and as gingerbread lattes appear, I remember who and what those feelings and tastes were so strongly tied to last year, and I look forward to this year. I recall the graces of yesteryear and anticipate those yet to come this season. And by winter’s end, the sacramentality of new buds, warming days, and beach music lead me to the graces of the next season in the life God has given me.

About Andy Otto 55 Articles
Andy Otto is an Ignatian blogger and spiritual director. He currently works in adult faith formation and retreat direction at a Jesuit parish and retreat center in Atlanta, GA, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Andy is the author of God Moments and holds a master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College.

6 Comments on Too Soon to Listen to Christmas Music?

  1. I read this article during the fifth week of Lent, 2019. I love the call of “Come let us adore him” and “Come all ye faithful” and “Oh come Emmanuel” in THIS season as well as Advent. I want to be nearer to my Triune God.

  2. I adore Christmas music and one of my favorite favorite hymns is from the CD, “Gentle Night-Music for Advent and Christmas” by the St. Louis Jesuits. Titled ‘Emanuel’ it never ceases to create in me a sense of longing and hope. “Emanuel, Emanuel who are we that you should love us so well”?

    This music does not pull me out of the present but makes me more aware of the moment.

    Advent is also my favorite liturgical season. Blessings of the day.

  3. Good comments! I certainly agree that you don’t want to get sick of Christmas music once Christmas actually comes around. For me thankfully that’s not a problem.

    As I said, Christmas music doesn’t pull me away from the current moment or festivity. Advent is actually my favourite liturgical season so I take efforts to engage it. The Jesuit Connection here in Boston has Advent faith sharing groups which I will try and take part in. I also focus more on the daily Advent readings which have great intentionality as we approach the coming of Jesus. Be aware of the sacramentality of Advent: the colours, the candles, the shift in readings…

  4. Well, it is still snowing where I live, has been for over a week, ground blanketed so it is beginning to look like Advent isn’t too far away.

    It’s a real struggle to keep Advent separate from Christmas, which doesn’t start in the Church until Dec. 25th. Secular society would have us believe differently, and this is a good example of how we as Christians are expected to live in the world while not submitting entirely to the world. Keeping a good Advent is as important as keeping a good Lent.

    We often see Christmas trees tossed at curbs as early as Dec. 26th, when in fact Christmas has only just begun for Christians. Andy, I’m with you on enjoying the changing of the seasons, perhaps you have some suggestions on how we can better engage throughout Advent? Thanks for your post.

  5. ” … by winter’s end, the sacramentality of new buds, warming days, and beach music ….”

    Ohmygoodnessgracious — over here the sled dogs are freezing and refuse to go outdoors.

    Well no, it’s only raining and the teenagers are still going out in t shirts (macho hypothermia). I sure never heard of gingerbread latte so thanks you for elucidating me and I will definitely hitch up that team to go get the whatever it takes to make some of that while singing, “Bingle gels, bingle gels ….” and “Running through the rain in a one dog open sled.”

    You have a good point however for my the trouble with Christmas early is that when I put the tree up at the beginning of December I am sick of it and it always comes down between the 24th and 26th. Every store you go into blasts the season’s music (drives the clerks nuts) starting right about tomorrow so they can put you in the mood to spend money.

    Maybe this year I will wait till Dec. 15?

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