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Z88.3 FM - Orlando's Christian Music Radio Station: Moves You

The Reason Behind All Christmas Music

All Christmas music through Christmas night in partnership with Centra Care

Written by James S. Hoge, Z’s Founder and President

Z88.3 is playing all Christmas music again this season in an effort to reach those who might not ordinarily listen to us.  We want everyone to hear the glorious news about the babe in the manger who by His sinless life and shed blood set us free of the chains of sin and death.  We realize there are some who tire of the Christmas music, and in response, we ask that you will pray for the thousands who will hear the Gospel for the first time.  Rest assured, the regular Z88.3 music will be back in just a few short weeks.

Besides, we have carefully chosen the very best Christmas music on the planet that not only presents the real and glorious message of Christ’s advent, but where you can flip a radio on in every room of the house to make it a wonderful soundtrack of your Holiday all day and all night now through Christmas Night.

Again, we know God has and will continue to use the Christmas Music tool to reach others, and we thank you for praying for and supporting us to that end.  However, if you just can’t take it anymore or just need a break, try one of our other offerings HOT 95.9 our Christian Hip-Hop and R&B offering on HD radio and simulcasted on the Orlando 95.9 FM translator or 106.3 The ROCK our Christian rock and alternative offering on HD radio and simulcasted on the Orlando 106.3 FM translator.  These stations can also be heard on the web, or download our iPhone or Android app.  (Search under “Z88.3” – but one gets all three offerings in the same app.)

Below are some answers to questions you may have:

Why do you play all Christmas music from the Day After Thanksgiving (aka “Black Friday”) through Christmas Day?

We thoughtfully and prayerfully decided to do this every Christmas as an evangelistic tool and you can help in the effort.  You may have experienced the reality that your friends and family are a little more open to hearing about spiritual things during the Christmas season.  Many who would never listen to Christian radio are more open to do so when they’re listening to a station playing all Christmas music.

By simply telling your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances to tune-in during this season, the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts drawing them to Christ.  Also, by having the radio on in the back ground during get-togethers allows an easy opportunity to share Christ and the station.

How, exactly, does Z88.3 share the Gospel Message?

Who best to communicate the true and real meaning of Christmas than your favorite Christian artists? They perform original and traditional Christmas songs that proclaim so well the wonderful and glorious news of the advent of our Savior. Add the passion of these artists for the Gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit and one has a potent message that can speak directly to a listener’s heart with unparalleled precision pointing them to Christ.

You may have noticed the Who is Jesus? link in the top mask head of every page of our website. Several years ago, we partnered with Global Media Outreach, or “GMO”, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (known now as “Cru”) to present the Gospel message clearly world-wide to those who are seeking and offer a path for e-mail follow up before or after a decision.

The Who is Jesus? link is always promoted on the air, however, during Christmas we use the opportunity to tie it to the season for listeners to find out what is so special about this babe in the manger. Since visits and decisions through the web portal are tracked, I can tell you that thousands have come to faith in Christ through the Who is Jesus? page on our website – especially during the Christmas season.

By the way, Global Media Outreach (GMO) is always looking for volunteers to e-mail correspond with individuals who have either made a decision and now require follow up or have questions about becoming a Christian. Because of the global reach, the need is especially great for those who can speak/write a second and third language.

To volunteer to become an “On-line Missionary”, click here.

Some area churches have made GMO into a church-wide mission project. One of those Churches is Northland, A Church Distributed headquartered in Longwood. To watch an incredible interview with a Northland service worker who in his spare time has led thousands to Christ with GMO, click here.

I hear some songs from artists that I don’t believe are Christian. Why is that?

Needless to say, this is a joyous season of celebration about the birth of Jesus Christ.   However, we have added a big dose of holiday spice of traditional favorites of Andy Williams, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee, Nat King Cole, and even Alvin and the Chipmunks.  These wonderful Christmas classics are designed to invoke memories endearing listeners to the delivery.

After all, what Grinches we would be if we left out White Christmasby Bing Crosby!  However, in this category, we deliberately left out those songs that glorify Santa.

What about Santa Claus?

There can be no doubt that the primary focus of Z88.3’s music is about Jesus Christ and His birth. While Santa Claus is a mythical figure, there really was a St. Nicholas.  Born into a wealthy family during the fourth century, Nicholas was a Christian man who loved children and his neighbors and spent his life privately giving gifts to the unfortunate.

These acts of Christian charity – usually made secretly – probably led to the practice of exchanging gifts at Christmas.  Nicholas gave to others expecting nothing in return. It is this selfless generosity that made Nicholas’ gifts a reflection of the gift God gave us in His Son. Some Christians use this time of the year as a time to teach their children how to practice selfless giving like St. Nicholas.

   Billy Joe Thompson of Longwood FL, our Santa model and a Believer in Christ!

We put Nicholas/Santa in our advertising. Our Santa does listen and has the Z-sticker on the back of his “sleigh” – a cheery red SUV with a vanity tag, to prove it.  The world will see Santa Claus and hopefully tunes in to see why “Santa Listens” to Z88.3. The Apostle Paul did a similar act in reasoning with the Greek philosophers in Acts 17:16-34.

Noting all the idols and pagan temples, he told the philosophers that he saw an altar “to an unknown god”. Seizing the opportunity, Paul started with, “Let me tell you about this unknown god! …the real God that is unknown to you!” To most, Santa is the god of Christmas.  Just like Paul, we are using the altar of Santa Claus to present the real God of Christmas who sent His Son to redeem us from the curse of sin and death.

What if this is confusing to my children?

Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, offers Christian families a perspective on this subject of Santa Claus:

“Christmas memories are among the most cherished of all my childhood reminiscences.  The fantasy of Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve was an important part of the fun.  I’m reluctant to deprive today’s kids of an experience that was so exciting for me.

On the other hand, I understand the concerns expressed by many Christian parents about the pagan celebration of Christmas.  They don’t want to link Santa Claus, a mythical figure, with the reality of the baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

They have good reason to fear that they might weaken the validity of the Christmas story by mixing it with fantasy. So this is the dilemma – Santa is fun, but Santa could be confusing.

What are Christian parents to do?  This is a judgment call to be made by a given family.

Shirley and I chose to play the “Santa game” with our kids, and we had no difficulties teaching them who Jesus was and is.  Other families regret mixing the two images.

What is best?  I don’t know.   But if I had to do it over, I would still let my children thrill to the excitement of Santa’s arrival down the chimney on Christmas Eve.”

If your family doesn’t practice “Santa”, I would tell your children the truth.  Here is what I suggest:

Z88.3 is trying to tell people about Jesus by using what most people believe is Christmas.  But we know that Christmas is really about God sending Jesus to save us.  We need to pray that people will see Santa and tune in to Z88.3 and learn that Christmas is really about Jesus.

I hope this helps you to communicate why we’re using this strategy.  We simply want to use the tool of Santa and Christmas Music to reach more people for Christ.

How can I help?

Tell your neighbors, acquaintances and friends to make Z88.3 the sound track of their season! During Christmas get-togethers turn the radio on for atmosphere.  Tune in Z88.3 at work and/or tell your co-workers.

Tuning Z88.3 in at the home and the office. Don’t forget to mention the wonderful Christmas music on Z88.3 at PTA meetings and sports outings.  All you need to say is, “Hey! There is great Christmas music all the time on Z88.3.”  Tell your pastor what we are up to and ask him to encourage the congregation from the pulpit and in the bulletin to spread the word to their acquaintances.  On a smaller scale, do the same in your small group and Sunday school class.

Be inventive, creative and proactive!  Make it viral.  The more you tell who will tell others, the more who will listen, the more who will hear the Gospel.  (If you come up with a great idea I haven’t mentioned, email me so I can post it here.)

Last year, according to Arbitron, the company that measures radio listening, Z88.3 picked up over 78,000 new listeners* with many hearing about Christ for the first time. The hope is that while they are enjoying the wonderful Christmas music they would hear and respond by the power of the Holy Spirit to the ever present Gospel message.

Thanks for praying for us and for helping us fulfill the vision that God has called us to do.  If you have any ideas, questions or concerns, please feel free to give me a call during office hours, (407) 869-8000 or go to my bio page and on the right side, send me an email message anytime.

Merry Christmas!


James S. Hoge, Z’s Founder and President

*The Orlando Metro Rankings –  WPOZ, Persons 6+, M-Su, 6AM-Midnight; Comparison of  Holiday 2011 to December 2011 PPM Reports, Produced by RRC from PPM Data © 2011 & 2012 Arbitron, Inc.