blue graphic with music notes faintly visible and pictures of Christmas music Amy Julia likes

Friday Favorites: Christmas Music (and More)

If you are looking for some Christmas music to usher in this holiday season, here are a few possibilities that aren’t quite as well known as, say, Holly Jolly Christmas:

Quick Links:


I just love Josh Garrels’ Christmas album: The Light Came Down


And since I have insisted that I will only listen to Christmas music on the drive to school in the mornings, Penny has turned me on to Sandra McCracken’s take on this season, which is also wonderful: Christmas


I always appreciate the Porter’s Gate’s work, and their newly released Advent Songs have been a sweet gift this year.


My favorite Christmas song these days is “O Come, All You Unfaithful” (yes, you read that right).


As a bonus, if you are looking for a way to listen to some Advent poetry and contemplative practice, go to Micha Boyett’s new podcast, The Slow Way, for a series of beautiful invitations to come into God’s presence for a few minutes of stillness and prayer.


And finally, I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post years ago about why I celebrate Christmas with both the “sacred” music of hymns and the “secular” music of Rockin Around the Christmas Tree. Here’s an excerpt:

“We were creating a Christmas station on Pandora a few weeks back, and my husband wanted to give a “thumbs down” to all the nonreligious songs in the mix. I ended up arguing for the inclusion of “Holly Jolly Christmas,” not out of nostalgia or love for Burl Ives, but because even the songs that include no reference to the Christian message point to the spiritual reality of Jesus’ birth. In John’s Gospel, we read that Jesus was “the word made flesh.” In Jesus, God became more than an abstract theological concept of love or hope or peace (or judgment or power or division) and instead became a real person, a baby, one of us. Singing songs is all a part of the celebration of this birth, whether or not Jesus is called upon by name. And this year, of all years, I want to celebrate the birth of love within our broken world.

I suppose that decorating a Christmas tree stands only as a shadow of the glory we sing about in “Angels We Have Heard on High,” but even a shadow of glory deserves my attention. The whole point of Christmas, theologically speaking, is that the abstract became physical, the conceptual became concrete. For my children, for myself, it’s important to celebrate Christmas not only through words and hymns and spiritual practices, but through the embodiment of celebration and delight, through cookie swaps and presents around the tree and wreaths on the door.”

What Christmas music are you listening to this season?

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