So many Christmas songs are scriptural – at a time when most Christians could not read or have access to a bible, a Christmas song imprinted the story of Jesus on the heart of its singers. How many children know where Jesus was born because of “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem”(1868) or “We Three Kings of Orient Are”(1857) and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”(15th century). Maybe that is why some Christmas songs uplift and the essence of the joyful spirit lingers – like Belgium Chocolates – pure, rich, true – because the spirit of praise and worship pours from our mouths in great joy.
Many of my favorite songs stem from the majest, power, mystery, and gentleness of the birth of our Lord. However, other favorites stem from childhood memories of home, Christmas, and the magic in a child’s belief – the intense savoring of a feeling or image in a song.
Some of My Favorite Christmas Songs are listed below:
1)”Angels We Have Heard on High,” My Christmas, Andrea Bocelli (added boon is “Adeste Fidelis” and “God Bless Us Everyone” from “A Christmas Carol”). I first discovered Bocelli in The Mystery of Love presented by Victoria Secrete. I would waltz my son to sleep at night listening to his music in his little cd player. Magical! His song “Angels We Have Heard on High” allows me a glimpse of the power, majesty, and utter beauty of the music surrounding our Lord on his heavenly throne. I just stop, mesmerized and awed. When we saw “A Christmas Carol” my crew was booking out of the theatre and I just lingered, listening to “God Bless Us Everyone.”
2) “Ding Dong Merrily on High,”(circa.1500′)s Roger Whitteaker. Bells peel in an everyman song, where everyone has the range to chime in heartily with, “Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!.” While Bocelli is for listening, this is for joining in!
3) “Sing We Now of Christmas/O come O Come Emmanuel,” Michael W. Smith (12th century for O Come O Come Emmanuel) – For years I have bemoaned the fact that there just are not any new Christmas songs that demand to be included in my Christmas Celebrations. Were all the good ones written before I was born – and then inspiration dried up? Michael W. Smith rescues my faith with this spectacularly Christmas spirited 21st Century remix.
3) “Silver Bells,”(1950) Kate Smith – This is where you find out that I am old as dirt. When I was 4 years old, I sat in my basement beside the record player, constantly moving the needle to the beginning of this song. I am sure my mother heard it well over 100 times that day. Pre-Mall era, my mother would take me on the city bus down town to marble exterior department stores, mile high glass windows that sparkled with lights to shop – and Christmas shop – “City Sides Walks, Busy Side Walks dressed in a holiday style” sparkled in my mind – with men in red ringing bells on every street corner.
4) “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth,”(1977), Bing Crosy and David Bowie – Though I do not know what buttered rum tasks like, I think Bing Crosy’s voice must be smooth like buttered rum! “Little Drummer Boy” just by itself is a favorite, but when you add David Bowie’s amazing voice and message of “Peace on Earth” it provides a dichotomy that adds a beautiful layer to the song’s presentation.
5) “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” The Nutcracker,” 1891- Sometimes words just are not needed – and sometimes you need something wordless! This fits the bill perfectly!
6) “Mary’s Boy Child Jesus Christ”, Harry Belafonte, 1956
7) Charlie Brown Christmas – This is the way to my husband’s heart! He LOVES the music. We used it on the wedding video I made for my son’s rehearsal dinner (it covered when he was little). For my husband, Christmas is not Christmas without this show or music! Since he loves, I love it along with him!
8) “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians) Time Life – Soloists, Glee Club Singers, Orchestra – A definite let’s-decorate-the-tree song – and the best way to hear The Night Before Christmas!
9) Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, Lena Horn, Time Life – Nobody sings about snow better than Bing Crosy and Lena Horn. This is one song that follows me into the snowy season of January and February. However, my sons were appalled when I popped it in last January while it was snowing. It’s also a great song that less than sterling singers like me can belt out anywhere (lyrics are tremendously easy!).