Because so many of you are questioning if I have a heart at all, or any tenderness for the Christmas season and its music, here are five songs that I like every year. Enjoy!
#5: "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley
Because Elvis is just plain cool. C'mon, you can roll your eyes, and make fun all you like, but you have to admit, deep down, you like this song. Here's a live acoustic version by members of Third Day and Jars of Clay, but if you're a purist, here's a link to the King himself.
#4: "Merry Christmas, Here's to Many More" by Relient K
A newer song, but it's quickly become one of my favorites. The first line captures my usual feeling during the holidays: "I made it through the year and I did not even collapse / I gotta say, thank God for that..." I'm the type of person who gets overwhelmed by the business of work and church and family obligations that it stops being about Jesus and is just about surviving until the next available day off. I mean, I don't even have a Christmas tree up yet. So the harriedness of Christmas is my experience. Yet the song isn't about worry or stress, but about celebration of God's blessings. Good stuff.
#3: "O Holy Night"
One of my favorite Christmas "hymns." I remember a few special occasions of singing this song. It just strikes the right chords in my heart. And I refuse to let South Park's hilariously-irreverent version ruin it for me. Here's an instrumental version of the song performed by jazz musicians who survived Katrina, from the TV show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." I loved this heart-warming scene in this episode, so I'm including the version with dialogue and cut-aways. The instrumental-only version is here.
#2: "Drummer Boy" by Jars of Clay
Not even the song in general so much, as this particular version of it. I suppose I could go into how much the song means to me, the idea of bringing whatever gifts we have to Jesus, however humble, and using them to give Him glory. But that's obvious; so I'm just going to say, Jars of Clay is probably my favorite band, and I want Dan Haseltine's scarf. That's all. Enjoy.
#1: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
Probably my favorite Christmas song ever. There's just so much here; most importantly, it captures the urgency of Advent, of humanity itself, as it yearns for redemption. We didn't just need a new moral code, another prophet, a new flavor of religion. We needed a savior. We needed redemption. We needed to be made new. Jesus did that. He was "God with us." And He ransomed His people, captive to sin and death. So, rejoice, rejoice. Emmanuel has ransomed us.
Response time: What are some of your favorites, and why? Drop your answers in the com-box. Have a good night.