The holiday season has reached its peak. Decorations, parties, calories and music abound.
Some of this music is soul inspiring. I am warmed each time I hear Sheryl Crow’s “Blue Christmas”, The Barenaked Ladies’ “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or any version of Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. There are holiday songs I would rather leave behind (I’m looking at you Wham! and “Santa Baby”). And, there is one song that is not classified as a holiday song that haunts but encourages me this time each year.
The song is “Holiday,” by Green Day.
This Green Day track does not typically make Hanukkah or Christmas playlists. It is not appropriate for Kwanza and it does not care what I am doing on New Years Eve. Yet, I work to embrace it every year during the holiday season.
“Holiday” points me back to the church and our faith during these hurried and hectic days. In the wake of Black Friday Sales and in the midst of all the last-minute Christmas retail chaos, I find myself echoing a chorus of:
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies,
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives,
This is not the kind of song the retailers play during their favorite season, but isn’t that precisely why we need it? We need an alternative chorus in order to survive a bombardment of Polar Bears selling us high fructose corn syrup, giant red bows atop elusive luxury cars and the chubby grey-bearded guy navigating a ski hill on an electric razor.
We need this chorus to remind us that buying stuff will not make us better. Gifts that attempt to make us happy are a hollow lie perpetuated by companies who need our money. The lie they tell help keeps an economy moving and makes shareholders happy, but, as Christian people, during this season, we must remember that the dawning for the rest of our lives is found in a barn, not a boutique.
As we’ve waited for Jesus, we’ve journeyed through the truly powerful forces of hope, peace, joy and love. Our deep cravings for these life-changing virtues will not be satisfied by emulating a fictitious man in a red suit. These virtues take root when we embrace the swaddled child who meets us on Christmas day, not the shopping that occupies us until then.
This year, my local radio station has not played Green Day’s “Holiday” between Springsteen’s “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” and Sandler’s “ Hanukkah Song”. No one else has put this dated alt-punk song in heavy rotation, but I embed it in my playlists because it is a holiday song I need, even if I’d rather do without it and just buy stuff.
This season, I want to beg to differ from the hollow lies.
This season, I long to embrace the gifts of the Advent and Christmas season so my soul will be filled with the hope, peace, joy and love that only looking toward the coming Christ child will provide.