This is the continuation of a collection of posts I’m doing this year about some of my favorite “Christmas Songs” that most people may not think of when they think of Christmas. They’re not in any particular order and I’m not sure how many I’ll come up with, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a countdown. Perhaps that will be a future year.
No list of modern Christmas songs would be complete without “Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls. I’m not sure if I would define it as “atypical” since it has been a mainstay of pop culture Christmas and New Years events since it’s release in 2006. The song definitely has undertones of John Rzeznik’s Catholic upbringing in it. Still, for those of us who grew up in and around the Evangelical church culture this one may not be as familiar to us.
To me this is a call for a missional understanding of Christmas. It’s a call for the Incarnation to be about more than sweet, sentimental feelings once a year or initiating a personal transaction that buys us our ticket to Heaven someday. It’s a call for real transformation in the world around us as we embrace “the one poor child who saved this world.” It calls us to embrace God’s mission to restore the world He created to Him again and reminds us that the opportunity is there for re-creation to happen in our lives and our world (“tonight’s the night the world begins again”).
I don’t know if this is what Rzeznik had in mind when he penned these words and some of the finer points of theology in it can be debated. Still, I can identify with this prayer found in the bridge:
I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days