Thursday, December 04, 2003

Some of my favorite Christmas music...

I'll admit it, I'm a sentimental softie when it comes to Christmas music. It's one of my favorite things about the season, which I still love in spite of the stress and commercialism that threatens to spoil everything at times.

The following is lifted from my website:

The Soundtrack of Christmas

Christmas music I love...

There are certain musical sounds that have formed the backdrop of Christmas for me...some in years past,and some in more recent years. I can remember growing up to the lilting sounds of Brenda Lee's "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"! In junior high,I was introduced by an incredible music teacher to the majesty and wonder of Handel's "Messiah." The strains of "For Unto Us a Son is Born" never fail to stir me, and I could make a good case for "The Hallelujah Chorus" being sung in Heaven!

When I was in Bible college, Evie Tornquist was all the rage. I still enjoy Evie's "Come On,Ring those Bells"!

Years ago,my sister gave me a Christmas tape of the Oak Ridge Boys. I've since lost it, and would love to have the CD. I can remember playing it for my little sons at night while they went to sleep during the Christmas season.

Some of my favorite Christmas music is more contemporary, but several have quickly become standards in our home. Here are a few:

For the fourth year I'm thoroughly enjoying Michael W. Smith's "Christmastime." I heartily recommend it!

No one is going to pretend Smitty is an awesome vocalist, but he is, in my opinion,a musical genius, and there is something endearing about his voice, too. The arrangements and orchestration are absolutely gorgeous as well. This is one of my very favorite Christmas albums. It is the perfect, joyous blend of the lighthearted and the reverent. Now I can't imagine the Christmas season without it.

His first Christmas album (I believe it was just titled "Christmas"), also remains a Christmas season staple for me, but it has a much different tone. The first album is more quiet and worshipful overall.

All of Amy Grant's Christmas albums are great,but my personal favorite is "Home for Christmas." It has become a seasonal classic in our home.

Also once again enjoying Point of Grace's Christmas C-D...I believe it's called "A Christmas Story." Lush, shimmery, angelic female four-part harmony, with a nice balance of the sacred and the secular.

And one of the best Christmas albums EVER...4Him's "Season of Love". I can't come up with enough superlatives for this one. . 4Him's version of "Little Drummer Boy" is one of my favorites...and "Strange Way to Save the World" is beautiful and poignant. A must-have!

And now for something completely different...

My son Jonathan has never been a huge fan of Christmas music...and he got especially burnt out on the sounds of the season when he worked in a Franklin Covey store at an Ohio mall for two years in a row. Here, he argues his case against Christmas music:


By Jonathan Swanson

I have been called a Grinch before because I don't always "Get in the Christmas Spirit". I have always realized that Christmas music and the Christmas atmosphere don't excite me as much as some, but I always am truly moved when that second hand goes from 11:59:59 pm Dec. 24 to 12:00:00 Dec. 25. I have diagnosed my lack of Christmas spirit as a disdain for crappy, so-called Christmas music. Yeah that's right, I dislike Christmas music. Before you picture me with a cane and a t-shirt that says "BAH HUMBUGG", let me clarify. Not all music that is passed off as Christmas music is really Christmas music. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Silent Night" - these are real Christmas songs, but I am convinced that upwards of 70% of Christmas music is not Christmas music at all! I think real Christmas music should, at some point or another, mention Christ and his birthday! Most of it does not even come close! Let me give you a taste of what I've been subjected to just about every day, for the last two Christmas seasons :

"Santa Baby" - "Santa cutie, there's one thing that I really need, Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, For me.I've been an awful good girl, Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight." (imagine this performed by a disgustingly whiny/flirty female voice)

"What Christmas Means To Me" - "Candles burning low,Lots of mistletoe,Lots of snow and ice Everywhere we go Choirs singing carols Right outside my door All these things and more All these things and more That's what Christmas means to me, my love Christmas means to me, my love" (the legenday Stevie Wonder stumbles through this ode to remind us that Christmas isn't about a virgin birth and the arrival of the God-man that will change the course of history, it's really about kissing strangers under a plant, and singing songs in the cold)

"We Wish You the Merriest" - "We wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest, the merriest to youWe wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest, yes the merriest, / We wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest Yule cheer,/ We wish you the happiest, the happiest, the happiest, yes the happiest, / We wish you the happiest, the happiest, the happiest New Year./ May your tree be filled with happiness, happiness and friendliness for all / May your heart be filled with cheerfulness," /

(Yes this is actually a song, if you've ever heard it, you know how much it sucks.)--Jonathan Swanson

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