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Q&A#98 Should We Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at Christmas?

Alastair Roberts

Q&A#98 Should We Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at Christmas?

December 18, 2018
Alastair Roberts
Alastair Roberts

Today's question:

"I recently ran into a new (to me?) liturgical trend that seems to be suddenly ubiquitous, and that, at least initially caught me somewhat flat footed: Celebrating Christmas by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, and/or making part of the Christmas celebration a birthday party for Jesus.

My initial feeling is that this celebration is extremely misguided, and I think I can articulate some objections; but I'm having some difficulty clearly and thoroughly articulating an objection (assuming it is problematic), and I don't know how to respond well. What are your thoughts on this sort of liturgical practice, and how to respond to it well? I'm particularly concerned regarding the catechesis of my daughter.

(RE: Its ubiquity: Today our pastor said the church would sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus" in the liturgy after the Christ candle in the advent wreath is lit--as if the Christ candle were His birthday candle(!), and there'd be birthday cake for Jesus after the service; my daughter sang it as part of her preschool's Christmas celebration; and my nephew's LCMS Christmas celebration was a celebration of "The birthday of our best friend, Jesus".)"

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