To me, Christmas brings memories of childlike excitement; warm, golden pancakes stacked on my breakfast plate; family merrily chatting around the glittering tree. Yet throughout each celebration of Christ’s incarnation, nothing has weaved its way so entirely well as music. Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime” album and Amy Grant’s “Tennessee Christmas” literally embodies the holiday’s essence in my mind; you’ll thus find several of their songs in the list below of my most treasured Christmas pieces. With this “Collection” post, then, I encourage you to celebrate the Lord Almighty—to cherish His name and magnify it throughout the holiday of Christmas.
- “Kay Thompson’s Jingle Bells” by Michael W. Smith—To me, “Jingle Bells” is one of the most clichéd Christmas songs I’ve heard. However, when Michael W. Smith adds his genius to an over-used piece, you can count on it being extremely enjoyable.
- “Christmastime” by Michael W. Smith—This is a song I’ve recently memorized for the piano and is one of my longtime favorites for Christmas. The background vocals are especially extraordinary and have always reminded me of the angels Smith sings about.
- “Another Merry Christmas” by Amy Grant— I love how Amy opens my eyes to all those whose hearts are broken in yuletide yet totally ignored. She paints portrait after portrait of those who are suffering, and precisely when I cannot bear it any longer, she points me to the blessed beauty of Immanuel’s meaning.
- “Grown-Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant—”Grown-Up Christmas List” is more about wishes than Christmas, yet I have always gravitated toward Amy Grant’s version. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia, perhaps the vocals, perhaps the heavy emotion—either way, there’s something special about this song that I simply cannot ignore.
- “O Holy Night” by Jennifer Nettles—My favorite rendition of my favorite traditional Christmas carol. Need I say more?
- “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant—Amy Grant both plays Mary and reveals the parallels between the mother of Christ’s and our lives very well. I have often sung this as an expression of desperation for Christ’s comfort and drawing near…and not just at Christmas.
- “Gloria” by Michael W. Smith—Every time I hear this song, I clap, praise God, and dance uncontrollably. I love Smith’s worshipful, joy-filled attitude!
- “Christmas Like a Child” by Third Day—This son revealed to me my longing for a childlike innocence in the business and severe perspective-shift that too often accompanies the celebration of Christ’s birth. Why don’t we celebrate Christmas as children do, with wonder, delight, and focus?
- “All Is Well” by Jordan Smith—I first heard Smith’s rendition of this song in concert (when he was a special guest on Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith’s recent Christmas tour); upon listening, I was immediately overcome with joy, inspiration, and reverence.
- “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach—I had no idea Bach wrote a Christmas song until a few years ago…but it has quickly become one of my favorites. One of my favorite things about music is how it can portray a story’s mood and plot without using words, and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is a wonderful example of that.
Thank you for sharing in the joy I find in loving this precious music. I cannot imagine a proper Christmas without each song playing softly in the background, whether in the living room or in my heart,
December 21, 2017