OK, at the risk of accusations saying I’m a Grinch about Santa Claus and Christmas in general, I am going to reveal my true feelings about the songs cited as various favorites in the blog today. I don’t like most of them.

Why? I must be getting old, or I’ve been brainwashed by my evangelical pastors for too long, or by too many “Jesus is the reason for the season” slogans. Each year I have found I have a greater distaste for Christmas music that doesn’t focus on Christ, and instead plays up everything else that has nothing to do with Him: Santa Claus, sugar plums, Frosty, partridges in pear trees, favorite things, etc. Understand that I’m sure it doesn’t have that effect for many of you; it just does for me.

My kids don’t believe in Santa Claus. They know the story and enjoy the TV specials about him, but they know he doesn’t exist. It doesn’t take away from the holiday for them, though, as far as I can tell. They anticipate it as much as other children. But for them they know that everything is real: we celebrate because Christ was born to save mankind and later died for our sins, and that we exchange gifts with one another as a celebration of that, by demonstrating a sacrifice on our own parts to give to others. The gifts don’t come because of mythical figure who judges them worthy based on naughtiness or niceness. They are just like other kids and are excited about getting new stuff, but are much more enthusiastic about giving gifts than I ever was at Christmastime. Maybe that says a lot more about me than how we celebrate the holiday.

I listen to all the songs because my kids enjoy them all, but I simply tolerate the ones that aren’t oriented towards the Savior (although I don’t tolerate John Lennon either, Drew — I turn it off). That said, my favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night.” Deniece Williams, of “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” from “Footloose” fame, performed a version of it years ago at my church in Los Angeles that blew me out of the auditorium — unforgettable.

And at that same church we had a baritone vocalist, Jubilant Sykes, who moved everyone to tears nearly every time he sang. If you’re in an experimenting mood, try him out, and if you ever get a chance to see him live, go. “Mary, Did You Know?” — wow.