I don’t know what it is about Christmas time—maybe eggnog without moderation?—that brings out the strangest music trends.  And I’m not just thinking about sleigh bells.

Listening recently to a local Christian radio station, I heard an up-to-date, poppy version of “The Jingle Bell Rock.”  A little bit later I heard a version of “Feliz Navidad” that made me think the artist lost a bet.

Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy features “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night,” in its last new episode of the fall, “Adrift and at Peace.”  And the cast of Glee sings “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “O Holy Night.”

This trading of traditions is nothing short of ironic.  At the contemporary Christian musicians, who are holding their own tradition at arms length, I just shrug.  Maybe, it’s pessimism, but I expect this. 

But Grey’s and Glee, along with the many other popular forms of entertainment that evoke the Christian tradition this time of year, intrigue me.  Sure, there could be a marketing angle here, but I think there’s a deeper, meta-explanation.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus addresses a synagogue with words from the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (4:17c-19, ESV)

He then announces, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (4:21, ESV). 

The incarnation of the son of God is the beginning of the end of poverty, slavery, blindness, and oppression—the effects of the fall of Adam.  As of now, we do not see all things in subjection to Christ (Heb. 2:8), but the end of the end of these things is coming.

The incarnation has so fundamentally affected creation that even those who have not hailed the Lord’s anointed (HT:  James Montgomery) still sing of his glory. The very world that God was reconciling to himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:19) sings the songs of reconciliation.