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A Deceptive Humanist Christmas Song

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

The late Greg Lake, most notably of the progressive rock bands Emerson, Lake and Palmer and King Crimson, had a "Christmas" song that wasn't. The lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield. There are conflicting accounts and misconceptions about "I Believe in Father Christmas", that it is a Christmas song, it was never intended to be such ("...about a loss of innocence and childhood belief"), Vietnam war protest, it's an atheist song, it's not atheist but rather "humanist" (as if there's a difference), and so on. I'll allow that it has excellent music and thought-provoking lyrics, but I haven't heard all of the versions.

Sinfield wrote lyrics for EMP and King Crimson, and Lake wrote many lyrics himself, including all of those on ELP's Tarkus album. One of these was "The Only Way (Hymn)", a mocking anti-theistic and anti-Christian song, including the lyrics, "Don't need the word now that you've heard. Don't be afraid, man is man-made". You shouldn't wonder at my suspicion that "I Believe in Father Christmas" is actually an atheistic song, despite the claims of the writers.


"I Believe in Father Christmas" is played as a Christmas song, but has a decidedly anti-Christian meaning. Key lyrics and examined.
Image credit: Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures
Let's take a look at some of the lyrics, which are found in their entirety here.
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
Ah, the ubiquitous "they" of so many songs. I tried writing some poems that I intended to turn into songs (fortunately for humanity, those lyrics are gone) and used "they". Someone asked, "Who are 'they'?" He was right. Sounds like a shadowy boogie man told in cowboy campfire tales. If "they" are the weather forecasters that promised snow, don't be surprised. Those people get a lot of things wrong even three days after a forecast. Some people think those same climate calculations can spell disaster for us 100 years from now, or less, as in Algore's famous failed predictions. But I digress. 

Lyricist Sinfield had a Christmas disappointment as a child. It happens. Did that destroy his weak or even nonexistent faith, such as Lewis Wolpert's rejection of God for not being a cosmic wish-granting genie? In a way, none of this is all that surprising, given the increased secularism of Britain. I'm just cognating on those things.
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas [Ever notice that the title is in the present tense, I believe, but the lyrics are past tense, I believed? -CBB]
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise
Oh no! It's the dreaded they again! How was it "sold"? (Maybe a traveling salesman with a bowler hat, umbrella, and a necktie like they wore in Britain back then.) Sinfield called "the Israelite" (Jesus) a "fairy story", and we're supposed to believe that this is not an atheistic song? Not hardly! Lake must have been in agreement about the "fairy story" because he sang those lyrics. Disbelief in Father Christmas? That's where I have a problem with Christians who tell their children about that character (even though he was based on a real person) and magical gift-giving, because they can easily say, "I was lied to about Santa, Jesus must be false as well". Some of us told our kids that Santa is make believe and illustrates the spirit of giving, but that Jesus is real.

The soaring final lines are impressive:
Hallelujah noel, be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve
Pretty dreadful stuff. Greg Lake wants to join in the Christmas celebration for the good will and nice feelings, but why? We all know the reason people are singing hymns and exchanging gifts, the reason stores plan on making big money at the end of the year, and it's certainly not because of Saturnalia or Winter Solstice celebrants! No, I'm not forgetting Hanukkah, but it's not exactly prominent and a money-maker for retail stores. If atheists want to celebrate Christmas and leave Christ out, it's a fa├žade and they're living a lie. Christmas is about Christ, and they know it.

Do we get the Christmas we deserve? That line is nonsensical. Actually, we don't deserve Christmas at all! We are sinners (Rom. 3:23, 3:10-12) and deserve death (Rom. 6:23). God loves us (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8). Christmas is about Jesus, God the Son, our Creator, taking on human form for our redemption (John 1:1-3, Col. 1:16, Phil. 2:6-8). Those who do not belong to Jesus are enemies of God (Rom. 5:10) and blinded by their father down below (2 Cor. 4:4, John 8:44), but can repent and become children of the living God by faith (Eph. 2:8-9, Gal. 4:4-6, John 1:12, 2 Cor. 5:17). We've treated God like garbage, but he wants to redeem us and adopt us as his children. We can have Christmas, but we most certainly do not deserve it.

Greg Lake has met his Maker. He has since learned that man is not man-made (Gen. 1:27, Mark 10:6, Col. 1:16, John 1:1-3). He also knows his eternal destiny, and I hope he repented before the end. Where will you spend eternity?

I'm going to celebrate Christmas — something I do not deserve.



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