Secular Christmas might be offensive to some. I understand that taking Christ out of Christmas is never good and leads to much confusion over the big points of theology and doctrine. A one horse open sleigh never saved anyone. I get it.
However, Christmas time still feels like the ONE time of the year in our society where it’s politically correct to believe in Jesus. The presence of an entire genre of music called “Christmas Music” tells me that Jesus is still hanging around these parts, and it gives me hope!
The Boston Pops plays Sleigh Ride, and it is entirely recognizable by a large portion of our society, Christian and non-Christian alike. Maybe someone will fall in love with that piece and want to go see what else the Pops do for the Holidays? And maybe they’ll hear the orchestra play a more fully “Christ”mas piece? And, maybe they’ll investigate the words and the source of the JOY that is the Hallelujah Chorus or Joy to the World or one of the other Jesus focused pieces the Pops still play each year. I know it’s a long shot, and a lot of maybe’s, but I still have hope.
The other thing this song does that I find helpful is to bring to life another world where Christians and non-Christians can live in harmony. You hear this song and put yourself into the Currier and Ives winter scene wearing your earmuffs, sipping your hot chocolate, and riding on a sleigh. It’s music that creates a different world. You hear horses clopping and whinnying from an orchestra! It’s amazing! Maybe you can use this piece to engage a friend who loves music on some common ground. A secular piece can be a tool to start a conversation that later might turn to deeper realities and the sharing of your other favorite Christmas Carols that just happen to point more clearly to Jesus! Find common ground and walk together to the manger. Maybe this year a sleigh ride starts in the Boston Common, and leads someone to the streets of Bethlehem and the Gates of Heaven!