“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Lawyer’s Bells…It’s Christmas Time in the City

I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year for sentimental and spiritual reasons. I love the lights and the stories and the music. Especially the music. I love everything from “O Holy Night” to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”  

I know…I need help.

There has always been something special to me about Christmas music. So it was with a bit of bemused sadness that I read about the rewriting of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for an elementary school program. A Wisconsin school altered the song to become “Cold in the Night” for it’s winter program. The lyrics were changed to the following:

Cold in the night,< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 no one in sight,

winter winds whirl and bite,

how I wish I were happy and warm,

safe with my family out of the storm.


When I was a kid there were Santas all over town. Now there are lawyers on every corner. Maybe I could adapt my own song for the current battle over Christmas to be sung to the tune of “Silver Bells.”


City lobbies…
Busy bodies…
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a flurry of lawsuits.


People griping
Talk shows sniping
Who’s offended today?
And on every street corner you hear


Lawyer’s Bells, Lawyer’s Bells,
It’s “Winter” time in the city
Ring-a-ling, skeptics sing
This must be called “Holidays”.


No Baby Jesus
You must please us
Cause we might take offense
If the name of the season is spoken.


We’re in danger
Lose that manger
You’ve infringed on our rights
And above all this bustle you hear


Lawyer’s Bells, Lawyer’s Bells,
It’s “Winter” time in the city
Ring-a-ling, PC is king
You must all say “Holidays”.


Okay, I will stay with my day job. Back to our “Silent Night” rewrite, Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel president and general counsel said in a statement. “When a public school intentionally mocks Christian Christmas songs by secularizing their content, they cross the line from a neutral position, which the Constitution requires, to a hostile position, which the Constitution forbids.”


I am not sure that I would go so far as Mr. Staver. I don’t believe that the intent was to intentionally “mock” Christian Christmas songs and I doubt the purpose was overtly hostile. I suspect it was simply fear of lawsuits run amuck. It only takes one “offendee” to make life miserable for a school district. My conversations with most educators seems to indicate that fear more than conviction drives these decisions to make the programs formerly known as Christmas into generic winter don’t offend anyone events. 


When these stories become public many secularists hope that Christians will get hysterical. That reinforces the stereotype of people of faith. I hope that Christians will be gentle, informed, and intelligent in our defense. What I am looking for in the public arena is a level playing field. What is good for the Christian goose should be applied to the other ganders. Uneven treatment of Christians over other faiths is what raises my blood pressure. But I have determined that none of this is going to steal my Christmas joy. Because I believe that it was a bit more than just a “Cold Night” in Bethlehem. It was a holy night and the original lyrics sum it up quite well.


Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord, at thy birth
Jesus Lord, at thy birth


Redeeming grace. What a gift I was given on Christmas day! Keeping with our lyrical theme I finish with a little line from Gershwin that I am relating here to the miracle of that birth on Christmas and the battle over that message.


The way You change my life
No, no they can’t take that away from me.