How to Ruin Christmas

UPDATE! I’m not removing this article, because I think that it was still a bad idea, but only because when seen out of context it’s misunderstood.

The creators of this piece have explained the context for this.

We are SUPPOSED to be offended by the number, as it is, in the context of the Christmas show it was part of, a metaphor for Herod’s response to hearing about the baby Jesus. But I’ll let this stand, because I’ve been in churches that made decisions like this that ended up being a bad idea even though intentions were good and context mattered.

There is a year-old performance of Silent Night that has suddenly started to go viral in the circles I frequent. Here it is.

This church in London violates what many of us have learned is the cardinal rule for churches in December. You. do.not. mess around. with. Christmas. Recently I had a conversation with a guy who does, for his job, what I do (music in the church) who was thinking about not doing Silent Night this year and his pastor was okay with it. I told him he should probably update his resume if he goes through with the plan. It’s not to be messed with.

An upbeat jazzy version of Silent Night? Seriously? As of this writing, there are about 1500 people who’ve voted on the video. Just around 3% have given it a “thumbs up”. That’s not a misprint. 3%. Not 30%.

Here’s how I think this church went unhinged on this. Somebody had a great idea in a meeting, and this church likes to bust boundaries and break down traditions and somebody else in that meeting where this was decided didn’t speak up and say, “Hey, wait a minute, not all traditions are bad, and not all boundaries should be busted.” They didn’t because maybe the person with the great idea had a history of great ideas, or it was a leader who you can’t talk back to, or because nobody in the meeting had the sense God gave a chicken that day, or a combination of those factors… I don’t know…

But practically speaking, here’s why I actually got upset seeing it, upset enough to write a blog post about it.

Thanks to that church, I have one more “I’m a Christian, but…” disclaimer I need to make with friends who are far from God. I don’t need that. The song was defended by somebody saying “If only one person comes to Christ because of that, who’s to judge” without wondering about the 100 who didn’t come to Christ because they thought Christians looked even more ridiculous now than they did before.

You don’t mess with Christmas.

You don’t mess with Silent Night.

That is, I promise you, not a bad thing. Some traditions actually point to Christ and don’t need to be totally deconstructed.

Here’s my favorite version of Silent Night for you, to cleanse your musical pallette if you made the mistake of watching the link at the top of the page.

Merry Christmas

And, for what it’s worth, here’s my little instrumental version. It’s not as good…


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