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Archive for the ‘Christmas Songs’ Category

For You, Little Child

You who find happiness in a teddybear,

You with your innocent and curious stare.

For you. . . .

Well, that’s how my oldest son’s first Christmas poem I wrote started 23 years ago. The Thomas the Train has been packed away, along with the Knights jousting on horses with its castle walls. GI Joe’s have faded into I-don’t-know-where land while the 2nd and 3rd sons talk of joining the military. My 9 year old is in a gift-tween stage – Santa’s scratching his head over him. The junior is a gift-tween, too. I’m scratching my head, too!

However, Let me share what Santa’s bringing Joyful – I’m so excited. We saw the movie last year, “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” a 1941 movie about a farmer who sells his soul to the devil and Daniel Webster, a leading American Statesman in the early 1800s defends him to save his soul. Webster agrees to an “American judge and and American jury” but crafty Mr. Scratch calls forth a jury of the damned – historically fascinating. A great story about selling out noble ideals out of greed and fear and redemption. He has been asking me since then for the book. Well, Santa is bringing the play(never been a book or short story) and the movie.

Can a 14 year old still believe in Santa? He questioned it last year – yes, just last year. I just gave him the stare and said evenly, “As long as you believe in Santa, Santa brings you gifts.” Sadly, 13-year-olds are a bit obtuse, and I had to repeat it a few times, focusing the stare more intensely each time. I told him that if he look it up in my grandmother’s dictionary, he would find Santa, “A person who gives.” Then I repeated the code: “As long as you believe in Santa, Santa brings you gifts.” I still get gifts from Santa – my mom delivers them every year! Apparently, Santa has not learned of my change of address yet!

Santa also told me that Joyful should get a book of Daniel Webster’s speeches – HHhhhhmmmmm – more fun and more fun!

The Fire and Power of the H.S. (Holy Spirit) pointed out earlier this year in a discussion of Christmas Wish Lists: “If you just ask for 2 things you really want, then you get everything you ask for.” 

This will be my first Christmas without my firstborn, Perceiver of Truth. Something Christmasy is missing. He has written the letters to Santa for years, calling all the boys together to record their wishes, thanking for last year’s gifts.  Faithful just doesn’t have the same touch – imagine Scrooge before “the change.” Appalled sighs waft through the van when Christmas music comes on. I keep trying to shake off the “Bah Humbug’s” – but I have not given up. Perceiver of Truth is really going to miss the annual Christmas Nerf Gun Family Battle.  Santa always stuffs stockings with Nerf Guns and ammo.  You gotta be here to collect that one!

My mantle is decorated. “The Man who Came to Dinner,” “The Bishop’s Wife,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “The Polar Express,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nativity” are lined up for a snuggle night of Hot Chocolate.

Maybe I need to whip up some of my Uncle Luther’s homemade eggnog – that should kick some spirit into me!

Tonight the little guys and I pulled out “The Jesse Tree Devotional” – an advent book another website recommended – if it was you, please leave a note and I’ll link to your site – thanks so much. We sat down, and they loved it. One read the bible passage and the other the devotional in the book.  And the questions they asked, “Did God have a mom?” or “If everyone was killed in the flood, does that mean we’re all related?”

HHHHmmmm Christ = Christmas Spirit!   Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee – Christ in Christmas makes Christmas meaningful.  Each Christmas brings change – the sound of the Christmas Bells on my Grandmother’s door, the faces of my children on Christmas morning, the types of gifts, the people around the table, and the decorations – all that changes.  Christ in Christmas does not change. That’s where Joy to the World,

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

(traditional English Carol, pre 1823)

“God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray;
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came.
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding,
In tempest, storm, and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed babe to find:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy. “

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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!).

10) Away in a Manger(1885), Gene Autrey, Time Life – Away in the Manger – a song unto it self – celebrating Christ’s birth and my children’s bedtime lullaby! Last, but definitely not least!

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