Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

11 December 2008

Christmas music that both FEELS and SOUNDS good.

When December hits... our car radio is always tuned into a station that just plays Christmas music. At home we're locked into the Rogers Digital Music commercial free Christmas station. Whatever "the Christmas feeling" actually is... the music of the season seems to play a big role in it. No matter how bad it is.

Last week I found myself listening to Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas" and nodding along, until I realized that this song just sucks. Honestly. I'm sure you've now got your back up saying, "Shut up Dave! That's a CHRISTMAS song! Back off!". Yeah I know. Me too! But really now. It's not a good song. I'd never listen to it in July. Neither would you. But it's got that "Christmas feeling" so pour me another bowl of gruel sir.

So I was thinking about this...
What Christmas music DO I actually I like?

1. The SkyDiggers do a really nice version of Good King Wenceslas. It's just a really simple and honest version of an underrated Christmas song. The song was based on the life of Saint Wenceslaus I Duke of Bohemia (a martyr) who was considered a saint (907-935). Little known fact Normy.

2. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York. Hardly the most edifying song ever, but it's by far the best Christmas song with the words Drunk, Mountain Dew, and "cheap lousy faggot", in it. It's a really beautifully raw song with the old Irish feeling of an imperfect couple, struggling to get by, and coming together at Christmas. One of my favorites.

3. I've always LOVED the Crash Test Dummies version of "The First Noel". Brad Roberts has the deepest singing voice I've ever heard outside of a Southern Gospel Quartet. And how can you not love a video where he teaches his "dummies" about Jesus in a bathrobe?

4. Sting's Version of "I saw three ships" ads a very unique sound to a really lovely song (even though Jesus and Mary are sailing into Bethlehem on ships Christmas morning to East Coast music) So there are some minor contextual issues. When I hear Christmas... I hear Ireland and Scotland in my mind.

5. Paul Coleman Trio's Version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" is a recent cover of a really really beautiful poetic song written in the late 1800's that was actually in hymnals at the turn of the century. It's very minimalistic and gentle . The Blind Boys of Alabama did a version too that is completely different but quite haunting.

"Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago."
Christina Georgina Rossetti

6. The Pretenders song "2000 Miles" has the fantastic voice of Chrisse Hynde singing a wistful song about separated love. Coldplay has a cool version of it too. I like it because it explores what Christmas "feels like" especially when everything in your own life isn't the painting of perfection that you think it should be and something is missing at a time where everything should feel complete.

7. I believe in Father Christmas (originally by Greg Lake as covered by U2 for Redwire). Such a wonderful song about some of the reasons why the "Christmas feeling" exists. And it's not JUST the baby Jesus part. I believe that part of "the Christmas feeling" DOES have something to do with the fact that our society focuses on Godly attributes just like it says in Philippians 4:8-9

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

We don't do Christmas right yet. I know that. But it's such a beautiful time of year. Set apart from the rest. And there are reasons.

Brian shared something on Sunday that I found very insightful. That the "REASON FOR THE SEASON" isn't just "Jesus". It's me. I'm the reason for the season. It was because I needed a savior. Because of me... Jesus was born in a manger, died naked on a cross and then rose again... so that we could think on things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy... and there be real value behind them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am partial to the carol, "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day." It is as lovely and meaningful today as it was during the civil war, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned it.
I'm also a fan of Sufjan Stevens "Songs for Christmas." I don't even own it, but I love it.

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