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25 Greatest Christmas Songs Countdown: #16 God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

December 10, 2011 15 comments

So a couple of days ago when I talked about how Christmas tended to absorb whatever drifted across its bow, one thing I could have mentioned but didn’t was Christianity. I don’t think it’s obscure information that Christmas started off as a pagan winter-solstice festival that got co-opted by Christianity sometime in the past twenty centuries, on the theory that pagans would be more likely to go along with Christianity if they got to keep their same holidays with a new coat of paint.

In other words, when you see the slogan “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season,” it’s not quite right. The days getting longer again is the main reason for the season. Jesus is… well, we shouldn’t overstate the case. The nativity story is, by now, legitimately a big part of Christmas. Not the only part. But certainly a big part. And that’s okay with me.

I mean, I am no kind of a religious guy. Not at all. And I don’t get any more so just because it’s Christmas. But I have to admit that a lot of the Christmas songs that do emphasize the birth of Jesus are really good.

So light a candle for one of the best ones, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” You probably know it pretty well, so select the version of your choice.

#25: Sleigh Ride
#24: Huron Carol
#23: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!/Count Your Blessings/We Wish You a Merry Christmas
#22: The Twelve Days of Christmas
#21: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
#20: Fuck Christmas
#19: Jingle Bell Rock
#18: What’s This? & Making Christmas
#17: Oi! To the World