There are lyrics to certain songs that just perturb you each time you hear them. It seems like Christmas songs have more than their fair share of these bothersome lines. My wife and I often listen to Christmas music together this time of year. It seems that we are always getting frustrated with the same set of lyrics.
- 12 Days of Christmas
Seven swans, six geese, four calling birds, three hens, two doves and a partridge?!? Why are you receiving so many birds for Christmas?
- Mary Did You Know?
“Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God”
Of course,Mary knew her Son was God. An angel of the Lord told her (Luke 1:26-38)! And if the question is supposed to be rhetorical, then it should have an obvious answer and it’s not obvious whether Mary knew Jesus would heal the blind or walk on water.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
“All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names”
Hang on… Rudolph was being bullied and Santa did nothing about it? Santa didn’t step in and do anything until he discovered that he could exploit Rudolph’s differences for Santa’s own personal gain?
- Baby It’s Cold Outside
“The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there) Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)”
This is usually thought of as a sweet Christmas song because it one of only a few Christmas duets. Defenders of the song will say that at the time it was written, the idea of drugging someone’s drink would have been accepted with a wink and a smile, but this is clearly not appropriate in today’s society. Sometimes when we joke about a topic, we imply that an otherwise serious issue is a laughing matter. This is one of those times.
- Away in a Manger
“The cattle are lowing. The poor Baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.”
Wait a second…healthy babies cry. Why does this song state baby Jesus didn’t cry? It’s not as thoughcrying is some kind of sign of imperfection that would mean Jesus wasn’t God. Baby Jesus definitely cried. So did grown man Jesus (John 11:35).
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
“There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow. There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of the Christmases long, long ago.”
Scary ghost stories? Is this a Halloween song or a Christmas song? Unless you’re talking about the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” (this song predated “the nightmare before Christmas”) this makes zero sense!
Which song lyrics irk you? Feel free to share them with us.
John Litzler directs the Church Law division of Christian Unity Ministries in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and Baylor Law school. He is a member of the SSHS class of 2004.