Christmas songs and carols are part of the soundscape of December. They range from the wondrous, “O Holy Night” to the well-meaning, but slightly offensive Band Aid effort, “Feed the World,” to the fantastically overplayed, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Some are irreverent and completely miss the point as in the Beach Boys’, “Little Saint Nick” or the poem-turned-song, “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The Reformation and the development of Christmas carols are connected. Traditional Christmas songs and carols have been around since at least the sixth century, those that did not pass muster with the bishops and popes were discouraged until the forces that unleashed the Reformation overwhelmed attempts to prohibit them.

Sean Niestrath lives and ministers in Madisonville. You may contact him via email at

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