Joshua Judges Ruth: Debaters state opinions on when Christmas music is appropriate


The Society of Truth attracted powerful statements and heated arguments at its latest debate last Sunday. Well over 200 students gathered in the Gentile Gallery to discuss the topic: “This house believes that it is anti-Christian to play Christmas music prior to the Advent season.” 

The night began with an opening statement presented by sophomore Herb Joffrey. Joffrey explained the argument, stating that Advent is the time where we look forward to the coming of Jesus. Prior to Advent, we should be focusing more on the feasts of All Saints, All Souls and Christ the King. If we cannot live our spiritual lives throughout our normal lives, he argued, then we must change. 

Also in affirmation of the point, albeit to a more extreme degree, was senior John Carey, who stated, “Lent is a season in anticipation of Easter, yet we do not sing Easter songs during Lent. As such, we should not even be thinking about Christmas songs in Advent. We need to focus on songs of anticipation: the same anticipation the Jews felt for hundreds of years.” 

Carey continued to state that singing Christmas songs in Advent “should be considered liturgical abuse” and warrants excommunication. He began to express his opinions of Christmas decorating before another speaker asked him to step down. 

In opposition of the motion, junior Jenna Garner proposed the idea that, though the liturgical calendar is important, Christ has already been born unto the world and we should be allowed to celebrate that fact for a month minimum. “Why should we deny what has already happened and pretend it is going to happen in the future instead of the past?” she argued. Garner also made the point that not all “Christmas music” relates to the holiday and that, at the very least, songs that simply pertain to winter in general should be permitted.  

Sophomore Rodney Welt also opposed the motion, stating that Christmas was “a feeling or a state of mind in addition to a holiday.” He noted that Christmas seems to make everyone a better person and a visible sign of this comes from the holiday music and decorations. “Everyone always seems happier with the stockings on the fireplace and ‘Joy to the World’ on the radio.” 

After the main speakers had finished, the floor was open to any additional discussion. One student proposed a moderate view in which Thanksgiving, not Advent, should be the starting date for Christmas music. After some additional personal testimonies and experience-based opinions, the conversation had drifted into the question of what was considered Christmas music. 

One student proposed that, even though she sided with the house, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” should still be permitted as early as mid-November. There were no objections to the proposal. 

The final vote was 93 in favor of the motion, 107 in opposition and 34 abstaining. 

Freshman Harper Ramirez commented on why she abstained: “I personally was held up on the fact that those in favor claimed that ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ was considered a Christmas movie and not a Halloween movie. Even though it wasn’t related to the topic, I felt personally offended and could not vote with them.” 

Junior Mark Fret, who voted in opposition, noted that even though he did not like Christmas music prior to December, he did not find it anti-Christian. “In the end, it’s a matter of personal taste. I do not want to listen to it, but I see why people do. Regardless, Jesus has already come to the world, and if people want to praise that fact, I think that we should let them.”