Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

While the historical link between religious feasts and pagan celebrations seems to become a hot topic during every “Christmas” and “Easter” season, I’ve never sensed that the Lord is as vexed about it as we seem to be.  God has the ability to work all things to the good, even (or maybe especially) our flawed efforts to worship Him.  I feel certain that He is more moved by a heart that yearns to celebrate (& honor) His coming as a man, and the sacrifice He made for mankind, than by a heart that is filled with indignation at the potential inaccuracies within our religious traditions. My prayer is that our hearts will be completely available to Him in this (& every other) season.

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1.     Believe (Josh Groban):  Like so many other songs of Christmas, the inclusion of this track in a popular holiday movie has cemented its invitation to the annual yuletide reunion.  Josh Groban’s strong vocal performance, combined with the vivid imagery of “The Polar Express,” is the perfect recipe for an enduring holiday classic.

2.     Silent Night (Mannheim Steamroller):  Even though Chip Davis’ assembly “Mannheim Steamroller” had gained considerable notoriety with their “Fresh Aire” projects, it was their Christmas recordings (beginning in 1984) which brought them their greatest success.  Arguably, their version of Silent Night or “Stille Nacht”, from that first Christmas record, represents a pinnacle in their holiday offerings.

3.     Breath of Heaven Mary’s Song (Amy Grant):  Written in a period where Grant’s pop music success had caused some to question her commitment to spiritual themes, this song stands as one of her most profound and timeless compositions.

4.     You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch (Thurl Ravenscroft & Others):  Buoyed by the annual replay of the original animated Dr. Seuss Christmas special, and reignited by the subsequent release of the feature film (starring Jim Carrey), this song has undoubtedly made a spot for itself at our holiday tables. 

5.     Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24 (Trans-Siberian Orchestra):  This progressive rock variation of the “Carol of the Bells” has already become a Christmas classic, and made the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s annual tours a must-see holiday event.

6.     Mary Did You Know (Michael English & Others):  Originally written by comedian/singer Mark Lowry for a church Christmas production (1984), it has no doubt been a part of many other seasonal pageants in the years since.  Though the song has been recorded by several Christian artists, it has also been popular with mainstream artists such as Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd, Cee Lo Green and Clay Aiken.

7.     Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney:  Though die-hard Beatles fans might eschew this light-hearted ode to Christmas, it has still managed to carve a niche for itself in pop music’s holiday tradition.

8.     Santa Claus in Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen):  “The Boss” puts his stamp on this holiday staple, as he playfully banters with both his band and the live audience; and then tops it all off with a tasty sax solo by the “Big Man” (Clarence Clemmons).

9.     The Christmas Shoes (Newsong):  This heart-wrenching tale of a little boy’s holiday quest for his dying mother started as a simple song and has since blossomed into a batch of best-selling books and popular TV movies/DVD’s.

10.  Happy Christmas War is Over (John Lennon):  Given Lennon’s political history, it’s not surprising that his first holiday offering would come in the form of a war protest song.  Written and recorded around the same time his legendary “Imagine” was released, it was everything his fans had come to expect and love.

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