Joy to the World

Final nod to confusing themes in Christmas coverage: Time finds that 'Joy to the World' is about Santa?

Final nod to confusing themes in Christmas coverage: Time finds that 'Joy to the World' is about Santa?

A final Merry Christmas to any readers out there who are on the Western calendar and preparing for services tonight or tomorrow for Epiphany (or Theophany among the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics). The 12 days of Christmas are past, unless you are in an old-calendar Orthodox parish that celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7th. We can expect a few news reports on that tradition in the next few days, as always.

Still, we are at the end of Christmas for readers who follow Christian traditions, as opposed to the calendar of the dominant mall culture. With that in mind, let me give a shout out to those of you who sent me email about a truly interesting, if bizarre, little item from the Time online site. I'll slip this one in, right at the last minute.

The goal in this piece was to try to draw a line between the secular and sacred, when it comes to Christmas music. The headline: "TIME crunches the merry numbers behind the most popular Christmas songs of the modern era." The goal, through the study of commercial recordings since 1978, was said to be separating the sacred ("songs about the birth of Christ") from the commercial or secular (songs "about Santa and snow").

You can see the confusion that's ahead for readers, right? Time was defining secular and sacred according to function, not content.

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