Published: 10 years ago

What Doesn’t Fit?

Since I’ve been listening to lots of Christmas music lately, I’ve been reminded just how weird the whole December tunes industry is.  Call me crazy (you won’t be the first) but do some of these songs sound like they were written in the 60’s by people who smoked homemade cigarettes and called each other names like Venus Crabapple?

Take for example, these two well-loved songs that have lyrics in them that make no sense whatsoever…

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”  Lyric in question: There’ll be parties for hosting / Marshmallows for toasting / And caroling out in the snow / There’ll be scary ghost stories / And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago 

I’m sorry, when did Christmas get to be about scary ghost stories?  “And then kids, the wise men made their way to the manger, following the star to see the sweet baby Jesus…but not before a camel that had been possessed by a demonic being burst from his bridle, ripping the magi limb from limb bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!”

Or what about “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”?  This may be my most-loathed Christmas song of all time.  Perhaps it’s related to my memories of music time in kindergarten, when a kid named Terrence sat behind me and put way too much emphasis on “wish” as in, “We WISSSSSSH you a merry Christmas” and usually spit all over the back of my head.

The WWYAMC lyric in question: Oh, bring us a figgy pudding / oh, bring us a figgy pudding / oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer.

And this is where it gets good: We won’t go until we get some / we won’t go until we get some / we won’t go until we get some / so bring it right here.

First: what the heck is figgy pudding?  That’s just gross.  And you’re telling me you are not leaving my house until I give you some?  Can anyone say, “merry domestic disturbance”?  I knew that you could.

The point is, some things just don’t fit.  Just as Christmas doesn’t bring to mind disembowelment by holly-festooned ghouls and fig lovers having a sit-in, there are elements of guest services within our churches that just don’t jive:

  • What about your greeter who becomes a critic – rather than a champion – of your first time guests?  (“Didn’t you know our services started 20 minutes ago?”  “You need to take off your baseball cap, young man.” “Don’t park there!  Didn’t you SEE the signs that said not to park there?!?”)
  • Have you considered the cleanliness of your restrooms?  Nothing says, “Welcome to the Jesus celebration” like a toilet that hasn’t been flushed since the Carter administration.
  • How about the baby that screams like a caffeinated howler monkey through thirty minutes of the sermon?
  • Or the usher who scolds the mom because her baby is crying, rather than doing all he can to assist her without embarrassing her?

If you’re a pastor, staff member, or volunteer on your church’s guest services team, part of your role is to eliminate all distractions that would keep people from encountering God.  What needs to be taken away in order to make the experience a seamless one?

Start the conversation.

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