Every year at this time I go down to the basement and dig out our great collection of Christmas CD’s. The All-Christmas radio stations play the same ten songs over and over again. I wonder why they can’t update their collection. Oh, well…maybe next year.
In the mean time, I’m beginning to play what I consider to be the great music of Christmas. Some of it is new and different. Some of it is old and traditional. But it all puts me in the Christmas mood and expresses the true meaning of Christmas…not what TV and movies say is the true meaning of Christmas, but what St. Luke Chapter 2 says is the true meaning of Christmas.
In no particular order, here are my ten favorite Christmas CD’s, and why I love them:
- Amy Grant: A Christmas Album I’ve had this one for a long, long time. It came out in 1983 and is still one of the first CD’s I get out. My favorite cut is the Michael W. Smith penned “Emmanuel.” But “Tennessee Christmas” has new meaning now that we have son who goes to school in Tennessee.
- God With Us: A Celebration of Christmas Carols and Classics I can’t help but get excited for Christmas when the first cut of this CD comes on: “Joy to the World” by Anointed. For my money, it’s the best version of the old carol I have ever heard. The rest of the compilation has other great versions of favorite carols.
- Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration Quincy Jones’ updated version of the Messiah. Enough said.
- Christmas at Trinity My uncle recently retired as the Cantor at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Back in 1992 he recorded “Christmas at Trinity,” featuring the world renowned Trinity Choir and the Rosales organ that my uncle had installed during his tenure. The music is simply sacred and truly transports one to the glory of the Christmas story. Perfect music for very late on Christmas Eve.
- Crystal Lewis: Holiday! Crystal Lewis has a distinct voice that drives these holiday classics with a swing that’s contageous. The disc makes you feel like you’re listening to old time radio, but still has an updated feel.
- Gloria This is another compilation album with a variety of artists like Charlie Peacock, Michael W. Smith, Christine Dente, and Ginny Owens. “Sing Gloria” starts off the album with a shout!
- A Charlie Brown Christmas: Vince Guaraldi Trio What top ten Christmas music list would be complete without this one? When we’re eating dinner after church on Christmas Eve, this is the CD that is playing. Christmas Time Is Here!
- Our Christmas This compilation CD concludes with the incomparable Roberta Flack singing a creative and lilting version of “What Child Is This” that makes leaves one wanting more.
- Downhere: How Many Kings Debuting in 2009, this CD is already at the top of our Christmas listening list. It includes an original called “How Many Kings” that reminds us just what kind of sacrifice it was that Jesus made by “becoming flesh” and “dwelling amongst us.” It also includes a wonderfully raucous version of “Good King Wenceslas.” Why All-Christmas Radio doesn’t pick up songs off of CD’s like this, I’ll never know.
- City on a Hill: It’s Christmas Time This CD came out in 2002, and its music has accompanied our gift opening on Christmas morning every year since then. It isn’t truly Christmas anymore unless we hear the beautiful bells that begin the first cut on the CD: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” With that, our morning celebration begins, gifts are opened, and we continue our Christmas celebration with Christmas morning worship.
I hope you might find something in this list that you like. What Christmas music is part of your tradition?