Every year Spotify publishes a list of the 10 most popular Christmas songs on the playlists of their worldwide subscribers. Last year’s list is below and presents a snapshot, both of our culture and its view of the Christmas season (more details).
Christmas Tree – V (Kim Tae-hyung)
All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
Last Christmas – Wham!
Sweet Night – V (Kim Tae-hyung)
Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson
Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon
Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé
Not a single one from the list above has a Christian theme. Not a single one makes any mention of the foundation of the holiday, the celebration of the birth of Christ, and the Christian faith. By far the most popular song was “Christmas Tree” which is a “warm ballad with soft acoustic guitar melody [which] works as a soundtrack for the South Korean TV series”.
As a point of reference, I went back to the 60’s, the 50’s, and even the 40’s in America and discovered virtually no popular songs with strong Christian themes.
Our churches are full of Christmas carols, hymns, and contemporary Christian songs, yet none are popular enough to break through the clutter of secular seasonal music. When most Americans are decorating their houses or opening presents, they are listening to Michael Bublé’s (“Holly Jolly Christmas”), John Lennon’s (“Happy Xmas”), and Arian Grande’s (“Santa Tell Me”).
We are not, as a nation, celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord, as the angel or star of Bethlehem looks down from the top of the Christmas tree and the figurines gather around the Baby in a manger in the small creche on the coffee table. This, just as a bunny and chocolate eggs have taken over the cross of Christ at Easter.
Our churches are left to remind those who come to visit, twice a year, of the true meaning of these seasons.