Apparently this song is a big deal. I knew of the TV movie, and the book… but somehow the existence of the song eluded me. It wasn’t until I read about it on Stuff Christians Like (which is a great blog that is worth checking out) that I became privy to it.
I’ve spent the last couple of days listening to this song, and this is what I’ve decided: I hate this song. I think Jon from SCL offers up the best description. He says, “According to the Internet, which is always 100% accurate, this song took four years to write. I have a hard time believing that because it has the air of three songwriters sitting in a “cheesy song laboratory,” trying to concoct the most emotionally manipulative song ever. And when I hear it come on the radio I immediately rip my stereo out of the dashboard and throw it in a river.”
But that’s just the music. Take one look at the lyrics and you find a very unsettling message, both about the Christian faith AND about parental responsibility.
A.J. Salmo of the “Weakly Revue” writes, “…if someone were facing their last hours, one would think the last thing they need is a new pair of shoes. And the line stated after protagonist Nathan buys said shoes, “…[so that]if Mama meets Jesus tonight,” only seems to compound the problem, as what would Jesus Christ care what his subjects looked like at all, let alone how nice their footwear is? Christianity doesn’t seem to teach the strange values presented here. Finally, if one is even the littlest bit aware of the scene presented in the song, it appears Nathan has gone to the store by himself without any adult supervision whatsoever, and has actually left his mother on her deathbed in order to get these shoes, instead of staying by her side. One must then question what good mannered message is prevalent here at all other than the gift-giving itself.”
This song was released in 2000. Yesterday, my friend Freek said that, while at work, he heard the song on the radio 7 times. I think it’s safe to say that, for better or for worse, The Christmas Shoes is now woven into the fabric of our holiday season. I don’t know what this says about us as a society, but it makes me afraid. Maybe we should all go out and get some new Christmas shoes… just in case.