That’s What Christmas Means to Me, My Love

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God is with us”).
Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

Candles burnin’ low
Lots of mistletoe
Lots of snow and ice
Everywhere we go
Choirs singing carols
Right outside my door
All these things and more
That’s what Christmas means to me, my love

Recognize those lyrics? You’ve probably heard them a couple dozen times just since Thanksgiving. They’re from “What Christmas Means to Me,” a catchy bit of holiday fluff first recorded in 1967 that has become a Christmas pop standard. (Numerous artists have recorded their own mostly lackluster versions, but Stevie Wonder’s original remains the definitive take.) It turns up on the soundtracks to innumerable Christmas movies, in commercials, on radio playlists. And with good reason: it’s hard not to be taken in by its bright melody and appealing good cheer.

The verses of the song reflect the kinds of images that define Christmas for most people—family, friends, glittering lights, timeless music, cold winds, and hot cocoa. There’s nothing wrong with those things, of course. Who doesn’t love mistletoe and carols? But it is a view of Christmas that is firmly planted in the world’s view of the holiday, a view that only reluctantly acknowledges pregnant virgins and babies sleeping in troughs and shepherds who see heavenly visitors singing praise to their creator. “What Christmas Means to Me” may mention “Silent Night” in passing, but the events of that night never come up.

That said, if you’re willing to dig a little deeper, the deceptively simple lyrics can take on meanings that the songwriters never intended or imagined, pointing not at a commerce-saturated worldly holiday, but at a holy time in which God stepped into history to save us from ourselves. Each day this week, we’ll use a lyric from this song to examine our hearts. What does Christmas mean to you? More importantly, what does it mean to God? How does he want to use Christmas to effect lasting change in you?

One Response to “That’s What Christmas Means to Me, My Love”

  1. anne Says:

    This is good.

Leave a Reply