Maybe I should start this post out with a bah humbug! I'm sure some people will think that of me. Last year I heard this song called Christmas shoes. http://www.lyricsstyle.com/n/newsong/thechristmasshoes.html My wife wanted me to buy her a Christmas cd today so I did without looking at what songs were on it. Eventually this song Christmas Shoes came on. Let me say it is my least favorite Christmas song ever, at least as far as modern day "Christian" Christmas songs go. If you like the song let me know. But here is why I dislike the song so much.
A man is standing in line to buy some last minute Christmas presents even though he doesn't feel much in the Christmas "spirit." A dirty little boy is in line ahead of him. (First why does he have to be filthy dirty just because his parents are apparently poor?) The little boy wants to buy his dying mother shoes for Christmas so she will look nice if she meets Jesus tonight. Daddy says there isn't much time but apparently because daddy is poor he can't keep track of his kids. When he comes up a little short at the register he turns around and pleads with the man to help him buy momma her Christmas shoes. The writer is really tugging at your heart strings here. I can feel the tears welling up. (Now I don't like songs that manipulate you with the lyrics but that isn't why I don't like this song. I am getting to that.)
So of course the middle class guy can't help himself and he forks over the difference. The little boy thanks him and runs out of this self-centered man's life. This is the part of the song that really gets me:
I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love As he thanked me and ran out .I knew that God had sent that little boyTo remind me just what Christmas is all about.
Isn't awesome? The God of the universe afflicted some poor little boy's momma with an incurable disease and brought the filthy little bugger into the department store with a broken heart so he could buy some cheap shoes for his momma on Christmas Eve just so that some self-centered man could remember what Christmas is all about. Now I don't like Newsong because their lyrics tend to be theologically shallow and just plan goofy, but this song takes the cake. Let me list the things that tick me off:
1. God afflicts some poor unfortunate with illness so that her broken hearted boy can teach a self-centered man a lesson about "the meaning of Christmas."
2. The boy runs out of his life and the man's first thoughts are not about that poor family and their heartache but about himself and how great it is that God has taught him this priceless lesson about the "the meaning of Christmas."
3. What is the meaning of Christmas from this song? That we should be generous and kind? That God loves the not poor more than the poor? That we should think of others from time to time?
All of these "meanings" would be wrong. Yet I am sure that this song will be sung many times in churchs this season. And I am sure many people will dab tears from their eyes as the refrain is repeated. But this song is not about what Christmas is. Christmas should be a celebration of the incarnation. It is about God becoming man. It is about God seeking out broken people and providing a sacrifice so that we can receive forgiveness and healing. It is about God doing something we could never do no matter how generous and kind we are, no matter how many poor people we help, no matter how may soup lines we work in, no matter how many social programs we start. We aren't good enough but God is. And He made a way for us by sending His Son to become a baby born of a virgin, to live a perfect life, to die as a sinless sacrifice in our place. Christmas is mysterious and wonderful and joyful.
The real meaning of Christmas is Incarnation. Emmanuel God with us.