#ThirtyThankfuls Day 14: Christmas lights.

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Driving home last night, my daughters went absolutely bonkers when they say multiple houses with Christmas lights.

I know celebrating and decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving has arrived is sacrilegious to some, and I care not a whit. Even if I were the grinchiest Grinch to ever begrudge an early Christmas season, my too-small heart would have swelled to bursting last night at the chorus of overjoyed voices in the back of my minivan.

There is a special kind of magic with houses decorated for Christmas–a feeling that the Christmas season, which had seemed so far away during August’s brutal heat and October’s frustratingly mild weather down here on the Gulf coast, may actually arrive at long last. Even as the upcoming forecast for Thanksgiving week seems to mock us with its mid-60’s and rain, we will still be sweater-bedecked, singing carols, hanging lights, and putting up decorations. The excitement of Christmas, which I had admittedly begun losing in my 20’s and even early 30’s, is now returning in my early 40’s, thanks to the ministrations of my curly-headed children and their unbridled exuberance.

Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer. The first signs of the miracle have appeared, in the form of a few strands of multicolored lights.

#OctTBR2022 Day 16: Some Christmas Themed Reading.

[What is #OctTBR2022? I explain it here.]

What They Are: A collection of Charles Dickens’ Christmas novellas, including his masterpiece A Christmas Carol; a small collection of Christmas-themed sermons from The Spurge; and a behind-the-scenes guide of the Frank Capra film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Why I’m Reading Them: The Dickens stories are for fun, basically. The Spurgeon sermons will be encouraging, as well as providing some quotes for some sermons in November/December that I’m delivering at my home church. And not only is It’s a Wonderful Life my favorite Christmas movie, but it’s also the topic of a series of long-form blog articles I’ve been kicking around in my head for a year or so. Will those come to fruition in blog or book form? We shall see…

Do you have a favorite Christmas-themed book? Have you actually read A Christmas Carol? Let me know in the comments!

#Septemblog Day 30: What comes next?

Hey there, reader.

First, I wanted to say thank you for hanging with me for the last 30 days. If you’re one of my beloved email subscribers, you were probably pulling your hair out by the end of this month because you weren’t expecting daily babble from me. But if you’re still subscribed after all that, I have to believe you derive some benefit from what I’m doing here, and for that, I say again: thank you.

So what comes next? Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks (truth be told, I’m writing this post several days in advance because I’m just so excited about this!). Here’s what you can (actually, seriously, not just blowing smoke) expect over the next few months:

  • Starting tomorrow, over the month of October I’m going to share books on my TBR bookshelf that I want to read over the next 12-14 months. I’m calling the series #OcTBR2022. I’ll post a pic of the book, a blurb about why I want to read it, and invite your opinions and pre-reviews. And you can expect that, as I read through that stack over the next year-plus, I’ll be reviewing, responding, quoting, or critiquing them on the blog, so that we can engage the ideas together.
  • In November, I’d like to go back to something I did a few years ago: a Thankful List. Each day, I’ll write about a person, thing, or situation for which I’m thankful. I’ll talk more about that as we get closer, and I’d love for your to join me and do the same, either in the comments or on your own social media or blog platforms.
  • In December, I have a couple of ideas that I’ll keep in my pocket until we’re a week or so away, and we’ll see how I’m feeling once we get there. The goal is the same, however: I want to try to keep posting every day, at least through the end of the year, and then in 2023, I would like to continue with regular daily or weekly posts. I think that’s good for me. I hope that’s beneficial to you too.

If you’re still on board, I’ll see you tomorrow and we’ll talk about some books I’m excited to read over the next year!

It’s been a long December…

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“It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe / Maybe this year will be better than the last / I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself to hold on to these moments as they pass…”

Adam Duritz, “A Long December”

Hey y’all. Quick December update.

Greetings at the end of December. For the 4thDaveFam, it’s been a doozy, full of very mundane busyness, mild frustration, and minor illness. And runny noses. LOTS and LOTS of runny noses.

Of the five elements of the “Power Five” I had talked about in my last post, the one I was most consistent with was telling my girls that I loved them every day. Even that wasn’t a home run itself, but I feel like I’m building into the rhythm of our family pretty well, which is great.

Everything else? Oof. I’ve been a mess, gang. Not sleeping much, not eating well, drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee, not exercising, not spending much time at all in the Word and in prayer. And on top of that, my immune system has been taking a beating from various colds and flus that my sweet little ones have been bringing home and sharing.

Am I hoping to turn things around this week? Of course. Hope springs eternal.

But (literally) at the moment, I’m wracked with wheezing coughs and I’m running a low-grade fever. So any major changes in my daily life may need a couple of days to get going.

Illness and exhaustion won’t stop me from posting a few items this week, I hope. You may see a post I wrote a month ago about frustrated ambition, or a little 2021 reading retrospective, or even a quick affiliate post on behalf of the good folks at Monk Manual (if you’re wanting to buy a journal, wait like 36 hours or so, I’ll hook you up with a discount!). No promises, but since I’m not working this week, I may be able to pull that much off.

In the meantime, just a note of encouragement:

This year, I really feel like I did a terrible job celebrating Christmas (my tongue-in-cheek twittering about the merits of Die Hard as a Christmas movie aside). I wasn’t feeling the comfort and joy on a spiritual level. I went through the motions. I’m bummed out about that in retrospect.

But you know what? That’s why Jesus came: to rescue the hurried, the harried, the helpless, and the hopeless from a life of striving and utterly failing to live righteously. There is nothing I can do in my own power to live the way I’m supposed to. I’m a sinner by nature and by choice, and there is nothing I can do in my own power to overcome that.

But at Christmastime, we celebrate that Jesus the eternal Son of God graciously condescended to be born in human flesh and live among us. The baby of Bethlehem grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, accomplishing a life of perfect obedience to the will and law of God, in order to earn the righteousness we could never touch. Then, at the perfect time, Jesus died in the place of ruined sinners, paying the penalty for our failures and rebellion, so that all who turn away from their sin and look to Jesus as their Savior may be forgiven and set free from the guilt, the shame, the power, and the penalty of sin. Not only that, but Jesus rose from the dead 3 days later, demonstrating His authority over life and death and that His sacrifice on our behalf is acceptable to God. We who know Him as Lord and Savior have a share in that resurrection and will be raised up with Him on the last day, to life everlasting in Heaven with our God.

If you follow Jesus and, like me, your Christmas season wasn’t the worshipful, meaningful experience you wish it could have been, know that the grace of God extends to your lousy December. And you don’t even have to wait until January 1st to “resolve” to do better, because Jesus has done all the “better” for us. He calls us simply to follow Him in obedience, taking His yoke upon ourselves, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

On the other hand, if you only know of Christmas as a baby in a manger and a choir of angels serenading frightened shepherds, there is so much more to the story. And the so-much-more-ness is what matters the most to you and me, right now, in the shadow of another Christmas season come and gone.

Comment below or email me if you want to talk about that further.

Merry Christmas, friends. God bless you in Christ Jesus. Talk to you soon.

“Thus the Lord has done for me…”

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[I meant to get this posted last week ahead of Christmas day, but I think it still applies. So, here’s something to mull over as we enter the new year.]

The Christmas story has deep roots in the Old Testament. The “seed” of the Woman, Eve, whom God promised would crush the work of the Serpent, was promised to come through the lineage of Abraham the patriarch and David the king. The promised descendant would be Himself a King forever, with an eternal inheritance. Through the house of Abraham and the lineage of David, the glory of God would be proclaimed to all the earth, and all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. This “seed,” this king, would be God’s messiah, His anointed one.

And so, prophet after prophet, century after century, the people of God waited for this sign, this Seed, to be revealed, bringing their deliverance with Him. Curiously, the last prophecy by the last prophet of the Old Testament wasn’t about the Messiah, but about His herald, a forerunner who would prepare the way for Him. After the prophet Malachi’s last word, there was silence for 4 centuries. No new word from the Lord. No new proclamations to the people of Israel. Just waiting.

Expecting.

My friend Edhiel, a native Spanish-speaker, made a beautiful observation after lunch one time:

“There is something beautiful about how you describe a pregnant woman in English. You say she’s ‘expecting.’ In Spanish, we don’t use that word in this way. But I just love that idea of expecting. The husband and wife prepare a place for the child, pick out the name and the colors of the room and the toys and everything. They are looking forward to when the baby arrives…That’s how I want to be with the next year. My expectations are high that I will grow closer to God and know more of His goodness. That’s how I want to live.”

Isn’t that awesome? The idea of “expecting.” And it reminded me of the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were faithful followers of Yahweh. Zechariah was a priest from the family of Aaron in the tribe of Levi, and his wife was also of the priestly tribe. Luke’s account described them as “walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” By all accounts, you would assume this faithful couple to be blessed and highly favored by God.

And yet, God had decided, in His purposes, not to give them children. Remember, this is a day in which children were considered the greatest legacy one could have, and to be childless was to bear the reproach of the community (and perhaps, some thought, the curse of God). In such a time and culture in which children were considered the greatest legacy one could have, Zechariah and Elizabeth had none. A faithful minister, a faithful wife, an empty home, a barren womb. And though this disappointment could easily become bitterness–and for a time, it may have, we don’t know–what Scripture records is that Zechariah and Elizabeth remained steadfast, even as the years passed and the idea of ever having children became a lost cause.

Even when they had passed their child-bearing years and still had no offspring, this faithful couple continued to trust God. Then, one day, as Zechariah was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that his prayer has been answered.

Which prayer of Zechariah’s was the angel referring to? Deliverance from Rome? The coming of the Messiah? A child (which at this point was practically an impossibility)?  The answer turned out to be all three.

Days of Elijah

Consider the message of Gabriel to the past-his-fathering-prime Zechariah:

And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Luke 1:11-17

Gabriel’s announcement is first that Zechariah and Elizabeth will finally have a child, a son on whom God’s favor and Spirit will rest. The angel includes an allusion to Malachi 4:5-6, the last prophecy given to God’s people before the four-century silence–a prophecy of “Elijah the prophet” being sent ahead of his Lord to prepare the way for Him.

The expectations of a faithful minister and his wife–for their Savior, for their deliverance, for their own household–all bound up in this unexpected birth announcement. The announcement of the “second Elijah” meant that the promises of God for the redemption of man were finally coming to fruition, and the faithful couple with an empty crib were going to be part of that story.

Promises, Promises

Today, it’s not hard to find people making promises on God’s behalf, tossing out “prophetic words” over the coming year like so many Mardi Gras beads. We should be extremely careful not to put words in God’s mouth, or assign promises to Him that He has not made to us directly.

But I wanted to bring up this part of the Christmas story to encourage you that God is faithful to keep His promises to you. They may not come to pass in the way we expect or the timing we desire, but He is always faithful and He is always on time. The past year has been challenging in numerous ways, but through it all, God has still remained faithful. If you are a follower of Jesus, I hope you can see that and hold on to that truth.

If you do not follow Jesus, then I invite you to think about your life: what, if anything, has been sure and certain this year? In what do you have your hope? Because I’m here to tell you that trusting in anything outside of Jesus Christ is like building a house on so many fistfuls of sand that slip away with a gust of wind. If you do not “build your house” on the firm foundation of Jesus and His words, the final storm of God’s judgment will come and blow and beat upon your house, and great will be the fall of it. Your only hope, your only peace, can be found by turning away from your sin and selfish rebellion and trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice to give you peace and right standing with God.

This is a promise you can know for certain God will keep: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is the promise of Christmas! The baby in the manger one day became the Savior on the cross, dying like a criminal in the place of sinners like you and me, to rescue us from the wrath and judgment we deserve for our sin and offering us forgiveness and grace, and then rising from the dead in victory over death itself. If we turn to Jesus in humility and repentance, He will in no way cast us out. We can be redeemed, made new, born again with a living hope and the promise of eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.

For all who know Jesus, who have tasted this forgiveness and mercy, it should have been a merry Christmas indeed, and we can look forward to a happy, joyful, blessed new year!

Grace and peace to all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

Friday Feed (12/11/2020)

Not my workspace (I wish!).
Photo by Andrea Davis on Pexels.com

Happy Friday, friends! Here’s a quick round-up of things I’ve been reading and enjoying lately, for your weekend clicks.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend!

Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More.

Happy Christmas Eve, friends! I don’t have much to talk about today. We are now in the full-court-press of holiday preparation and festivities, getting ready to spend tomorrow morning with my folks. My toddler has been particularly rambunctious and playfully destructive around the house this week. We’re dog-sitting a very young and vocal pup for some friends of ours. All of this means I don’t have any deep or contemplative meditations on the holiday for you this year.

This year, I’ll just leave you with this:

I’m a Christian, which means this holiday is not about Santa Claus and stockings hung with care, talking snowmen and red-nosed reindeer. It’s not even about the fact that Die Hard is most definitely a Christmas movie, or that It’s a Wonderful Life is possible one of the best films ever made, period.

It’s about the fact–the historical fact–that Jesus the Christ was born in Bethlehem. It’s about the cosmic reality that Eternal God took on flesh and tabernacled among us. The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God came near. He is with us. And He did so not merely to teach us how to love one another or to encourage peace among men. The baby Jesus grew into the perfect and sinless man Jesus, who laid down His life (no one can take it from Him unless He lays it down) as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all whom He would redeem. Jesus the God-man, the second member of the Trinity, the Messiah of Israel, died for His people, all His people from all the nations. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement that brought us peace was upon him. By His stripes, we are healed.

Jesus bled, Jesus died, and Jesus rose. It is finished. The war is won. The dragon is vanquished. And Jesus the King, the Lamb who was slain and is yet alive, walked triumphantly out of the tomb, carrying the crushed head of the giant He conquered.

Now, in the millenia since that stone rolled away, we must bear with the death rattle and the flailing gasps of a defeated devil. But the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for Him. His rage we can endure for lo, his doom is sure.

This week, as you “rejoice, rejoice,” you sons and daughters of true Israel, take heart and have peace because Immanuel has come and is here and will return in triumph.

And if you are still reading, and all of this talk of Jesus’ death is strange and awkward and weird to you, know this: my hope and prayer for you this Christmas is that you would meet Jesus, truly meet Jesus, and come to know Him as Savior and Lord this year. If you want to talk to me about that, I would love that. Hit me up on Twitter (@the4thdave) or email me (the4thdave at gmail dot com) with any questions you have. It would be a gift to me to get to talk to you about this.

(Okay, I guess I had more to say than I thought!)

Merry Christmas, fam. God bless you.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

black and gray angel statue decor
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

Growing up, my family never had any “Advent” traditions. We never went to churches that celebrated or even really acknowledged the season of Advent (other than the pun of “The Christmas ADVENTure” children’s activity event a week or so before Christmas). While my current church doesn’t have any set Advent teaching or programming, we have been singing Christmas songs more regularly during worship over the last month, but that’s about it.

I haven’t been in much of a Christmas mood this year, to be honest. I know the day is just around the corner, but it just hasn’t felt Christmas-y. We hardly decorated around the house this year, and it’s just…I don’t know. We’re busy. Tired. Fighting off winter illnesses. We even missed going to our church’s “Christmas celebration service” because the kiddo was sick and my wife and I were both wiped out as well. On top of that, work has been a bear this season, and it’s just… *shrug* Anyway. No matter how much “holly jolly” music I listen to in the car or around the house, I haven’t felt all that merry and bright–with one exception.

A few weeks ago, we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” in church. As soon as I uttered that first line, my heart thrilled and I felt chills up and down my spine. My spirit resonated with that longing. I felt that ache. No, I haven’t suffered under the cruelty of foreign occupation or strained against economic oppression. The circumstances of my life are extremely blessed, and I have it very easy in many respects. But nevertheless, my heart feels weary this year. My mind is taxed. I am longing for the Kingdom of God and the end of the darkness.

And yet.

The Kingdom is here. Now. The wriggling form of a baby in a manger, the agonized moans of an innocent man nailed to a wooden cross, the charged and energized stillness of an empty garden tomb are all evidence of this good news.

The Kingdom invaded earth. The revolution has already begun. And the petty little conflicts I face every day are actually part of a war against the darkness that has already been won, as the Champion of Heaven has slain the bloody giant and redeemed for Himself a people for His own possession.

The good news that I have been given the privilege to proclaim is that God-with-us has ransomed us. Unholy rebels who have sinned against their Creator have been offered forgiveness and adoption as sons and daughters. Because of the great love of God, we who deserve destruction may instead have life.

Sometimes, that proclamation begins by reminding the man in my mirror that there is hope. There is hope. There is hope.

We are not alone. God is with us.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has ransomed you, sons and daughters of the true Israel.

The 4th Dave’s Christmas Music List — Part Two: The “Fa-La-La” List!

As I said previously, I felt it was time to update my list of favorite and least-favorite Christmas music. It’s easy enough to pick out the Christmas songs you love to hate–but what about the really good ones? So here’s my top-five current favorites:

Fa-la-la-la-la!  The4thDave’s Current Favorite Christmas Songs!

5) “O Holy Night”

One of my favorite Christmas “hymns.” I remember a few special occasions of singing this song. It just strikes the right chords in my heart. Here’s an instrumental version of the song performed by jazz musicians who survived Katrina, from the TV show “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” I loved this heart-warming scene in this episode, so I’m including the version with dialogue and cut-aways.

4) “You Gotta Get Up” by Rich Mullins

Not enough people know this song, so any chance to introduce someone to a new Rich Mullins song is worth taking. So here you go: the brilliant Rich Mullins, singing about the joy of Christmas morning.

3) “O Come All Ye Faithful” by the Austin Stone

Christmas is a time to worship, so the most worshipful songs are often my favorites. Here’s a great version by the folks at the Austin Stone church.

2) “I Celebrate the Day” by Relient K

The whole Relient K Christmas album (“Let it Snow, Baby, Let it Rein Deer”) is pretty great–a good balance of serious reverence and playful festiveness. It has its emo moments, but on the whole it’s pretty solid, and I listen to it year after year. This track from the album is my favorite of all, and a great reminder of what matters at Christmas. It’s a song sung to the Savior, playing a bit off of the question structure of “Mary Did You Know” but focusing on what the Christmas child actually came to accomplish.

“I celebrate the day / That you were born to die / So I could one day pray for you to save my life / Pray for you to save my life.”

1) “O Come, O Come Immanuel”

(There are lots of good versions out there–but I really am becoming a fan of the Austin Stone’s worship music–so here you go.)

Probably my favorite Christmas song ever. There’s just so much here; most importantly, it captures the urgency of Advent, of humanity itself, as it yearns for redemption. We didn’t just need a new moral code, another prophet, a new flavor of religion. We needed a savior. We needed redemption. We needed to be made new. Jesus did that. He was “God with us.” And He ransomed His people, captive to sin and death. So, rejoice, rejoice. Emmanuel has ransomed us.

The 4th Dave’s Christmas Music List — Part One: The “Bah Humbug” List!

So Aaron Armstrong posted recently about his picks for the best and worst Christmas songs, and that reminded me of some posts I wrote, years ago, on the same subject. So I decided I’d updated my list for this year. For the ones that are staying on my top and bottom five, I’ll just “re-appropriate” what I’ve written previously. And please post your favorites (and least-favorites) in the comments below!

Bah Humbug!  The4thDave’s Least Favorite Christmas Songs!

These are the five songs that I avoid like the plague, every holiday season. Songs that make me turn the radio dial immediately, or off completely if they keep popping up. I’d rather listen to my van engine idle than sit through these things ever again. But maybe it’s just me–your mileage, as they say, may vary.

(Dis)Honorable Mention: “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano

I almost didn’t list this one, because really, it’s harmless. But the sad fact is that this song is the “Margaritaville” of Christmas carols–everyone knows the words, everyone sings along with the song, and then everyone is deeply embarrassed afterwards. No Christmas carol should cause this much shame. And honestly, the lyrics aren’t that inspiring. No magnificent angelic host, no inspiring star, no world laying pining in sin and error, no captive Israel. Just some dude saying Merry Christmas over and over and over. He doesn’t even wish us a prosperous New year “from the bottom of his heart.” What’s up, Jose? Did you run out of sincere sentiment halfway through?

5) “Santa Baby” by anyone who thinks it’s sexy

(It’s nearly impossible to find an appropriate video for this one. So you get LeAnn Rimes’ “NOW…” version with no pictures. I’m really doing you a favor.)

With this song, you get one or two possible outcomes: the singer comes off as trashy and/or just plain sad. Seriously, this is just painful. Memo to everyone singing this song ever: You are neither Cynthia Basinet nor Eartha Kitt. You will never sound like Cynthia Basinet or Eartha Kitt. Attempting to sing this song as if you were Cynthia Basinet or Eartha Kitt only demonstrates how ridiculous and incredibly annoying this song sounds. Plus, it makes you look sad and desperate. Please stop. For the love of Christmas, please stop.

4) “Last Christmas” by Wham!


(Not gonna make jokes about George Michael. Not gonna do it. Nope.)

So let’s just talk about the story of the song. Here’s the big problem: it’s not actually about Christmas. You can substitute any other season or month in place of the word “Christmas” and it doesn’t change the song. It’s a slam song about how a girl broke Georgie’s heart, so he’s going to give it to someone else. Someone who’s actually special. (Hey, girl from last year, you’re nothing to George now.) But he’s also leaving the door open to play with his emotions again.

The timing of this emotional manipulation is incidental.  Think about it: “Last summer, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away.”  Still works, doesn’t it? For me, that’s a *Christmas* song FAIL.

3) “Merry Christmas, Darling” by the Carpenters

I don’t even know what to say about this, except that every time I hear the first few bars of this song, I change it immediately. In terms of songs about missing far-away loved ones, this one is too schmaltzy to be enjoyed. And some of the wording is just awkward. I can’t explain it. But this one just makes me feel weirdly icky.

2) “Happy Birthday Jesus” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Now at this point, you may be taken aback. “C’mon, Dave, really? You’re taking shots at a song sung by sweet little kids?” Yes I am, and I’ll explain why.

The main problem is the age paradox. This song could only be sung by small children, because the thought of adults singing it is ridiculous to the extreme. On the other hand, you suffer from the cloyingly sweet little girl’s voice, with the thlight lithp of mithing teeth–including one point when she ventures into “Junior-Asparagus” land. Then you have the sweeping orchestration over the children’s choir, repeating the EXACT SAME LINES before coming back down into the shaky-voiced (oh, i’m sorry, i meant tender) solo finale.

Obviously, if I were this child’s parent, I would be beaming with pride. But it’s hard to beam with pride at other people’s kids. Have you actually tried going to an elementary school Christmas production lately? It’s painful. You only care, you can only stand it, if you have a stake in the endeavour. I don’t know this little girl. I’m sure she’s a sweetheart. But just like I don’t make a habit of seeking out bootlegged soundtracks to every elementary-school Christmas production starring cherubic little tykes in construction paper and cotton ball costumes, I don’t want to listen to this dear little child sing a birthday song to Jee-ZAHS, makes no difference that the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir produced it.

I’m sorry, that’s just the way I feel.

1) “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong

If there were ever a tune deserving of criminal prosecution, it’s this one–and I say this with absolutely no exaggeration. I can’t even express how much I loathe this song. Some of these tracks annoy me, or stick in my mind like a burr that I can’t remove. But this one makes me angry, to the point of minor violence. Why? Because it’s expressly created to make you cry. A little boy is buying new shoes for his mother, so she’ll be pretty when she dies and goes to Heaven tonight.

OH. MY. LANTA. And the kid can’t afford the shoes, and a stranger buys them for him. For his mom who’s dying of some unspecified disease. Because apparently Daddy can’t get his butt to the store with his young son to buy the blasted shoes.

The stage-whispery vocals. The telegraphed musical swells at the bridge. The INSUFFERABLE CHILDREN’S CHOIR SINGING THE CHORUS AFTER THE BRIDGE!

AAARRRRRGGGGGGHHH!!! MUST SMASH!!!! MUST SMASH!!!!!!!!

*calming breaths*

I still hate you, Newsong. I still hate you very very much.