#30: On Christmas Music

#30: On Christmas Music

The other Sunday, after we had finished singing several traditional Christmas carols, my pastor remarked that while he acknowledged the many lovely contemporary Christmas songs, nothing could beat the beauty and theology of the old hymns. I shared this with Susan the other day in the car adding that he obviously had not heard Toby Mac’s Christmas in Diversity Christmas album. I must add that we were in the middle of getting down with our bad selves, as we so often do, while listening to this most awesome of all Christmas albums. I ask you, how can you beat lyrics like:

“Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
Let’s follow the beat of the drum
Doesn’t matter where you come from
Let’s come together as one and celebrate, let’s celebrate
Let’s take this love, and let’s elevate
To a place where we can conversate
And share our New Year’s dreams over grandma’s hot plates
Hey, hey, hey, hey everybody
Let’s celebrate that beautiful love.”

Ok, so perhaps he has a point. But I still love this CD.

Actually, I LOVE pretty much ALL Christmas music!!!!! The serious, the silly, the beautiful, the traditional, the new, and the old – I love it all and it plays such an important role in my celebration of the season.

Every year I MUST listen to Andy Williams sing “Happy Holidays” in order for the holidays to truly begin. It has to be Andy Williams – no one else will do – and I am instantly transported to my childhood – sitting by the Christmas tree, pouring over the Sears Wish Book and hoping Santa Claus is Coming to Town will be on TV.

Listening to The Waitresses sing “Christmas Wrapping” reminds me of Amanda, who first introduced me to the song in college and causes hope to spring once again in my heart.

Two of my absolute favorite albums are First Call’s Beyond December and an album compilation of various Christmas artist simply entitled Noel that came out in 1995. Both albums have the most beautiful arrangements of traditional Christmas songs. My heart soars as I listen.

Handel’s Messiah in traditional form, or in such modern renditions as A Soulful Celebration and The New Young Messiah, is another must for me. All the Scripture surrounding the birth of Christ set to stunningly gorgeous music never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Singing the ”Hallelujah Chorus” over the years in various choirs are cherished memories, especially the year the youth and adult choirs sang it together which meant I got to sing it with my parents.

Musicals, choral concerts, Christmas cantatas are another huge part of my Christmas memories and celebrations. Spending the few months before Christmas rehearsing with family and friends is a wonderful way to spend the holidays.

This past Sunday was one of my other favorite Christmas music traditions – being in the audience for the children’s Christmas musical at church. I cry every single year during the performance – and I don’t mean that my eyes well up, I mean, I cry. Something about the music and the message presented by the dear children, most of whom I’ve known since they were born, gets me every single time.

Music, giving us an outlet to celebrate the warmth and joy of the season, is a precious gift. Music, which allows us to attempt to express our gratitude to God for sending His son to save us, is a gift beyond measure. May you find the music to express your heart this season! And to quote another Toby Mac Christmas song:

“The Laughter starts
before the sunrise
I sneak downstairs to sparklin’ eyes
and oh what joy it brings to me
our family around our Christmas Tree
And I thank the Lord for His favor
AS we sing the songs of the Savior (our Savior)

It’s all love
the season is a gift
when love came down to let us live
Lets open up and let our hearts embrace this moment”

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