December 19, 2011

Songs of the Season

There are a few that I cannot bear to hear again.  Ever again.  Last Christmas comes to mind.  It comes to mind easily because the radio won't stop playing the Glee version.  The Wham version isn't any better but at least while it plays I can reminisce about the 80's.  The funny thing is that I own the Glee Christmas cd.  (Yes, I still buy cds occasionally.)   I absolutely love the first track, We Need a Little Christmas.  It's impossible not to smile and sing along while it's playing in the car.  Besides, in what other song can you find the word "spinet" making perfect sense as it rhymes with "minute"?  The "week after Thanksgiving" line really makes me long for the time when Christmas preparations did not begin right after Labor Day.  My favorite Christmas songs are the ones that are not too sweet, not too sappy, and somehow acknowledge the honest, human emotions surrounding the season. 
Haul out the holly,
Put up the tree before
My spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things,
But deck the halls again now.

For we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet,
Yes, we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute,
It hasn't snowed a single flurry,
But Santa, dear, we're in a hurry.

So climb down the chimney,
Turn on the brightest string
Of lights I've ever seen,
Slice up the fruitcake,
It's time we hung some tinsel
On that evergreen bough.

For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing,
Ringing through the rafter,
And a little snappy
Happy ever after,
Need a little Christmas now.

For I've grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,
And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now.

For me it's all about the lyrics.  A good Christmas song brings back happy memories.  A great one makes me stop and think then leaves me with a deeper appreciation of the season.  Here Comes Santa Claus makes my Top 5 list because I love the message in the third and fourth verses of this fun children's song.

Here comes Santa Claus,
Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
He doesn't care if you're rich or poor
He loves you just the same
Santa Claus knows we're all God's children
That makes everything right
So fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

Here comes Santa Claus,
Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
He'll come around when chimes ring out,
It's Christmas morn again.
Peace on earth will come to all,
If we just follow the light,
So let's give thanks to the Lord above
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

The remaining songs on my list are Christmas hymns.  Have you heard Al Green sing The First Noel?  That's a turn-down-the-lights-on-Christmas-Eve song.  Then there's A Baby Changes Everything, sung by Faith Hill.  That one stops me in my tracks---usually to find the nearest box of tissue.  Speaking of Mary and her baby boy, I think Roberta Flack was born to sing What Child is This?  If a Christmas song can be hauntingly beautiful, that's the one.

Finally, if I could share only one holiday song with my children it would be O Holy Night.   I love the beauty, the truth and imagery within its verses.  I think we should sing it in church all year long.  (Now you know why they didn't ask me to be on that committee.)   If I had to pick a version to recommend, though I've never heard a bad one, I'd pick Celine Dion's.  I think this is one of those songs that performers choose to record because they love it, they get it and they want to share it with others.  What could say Christmas better?
holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

My list is actually six songs, but hey, it's Christmas--who's counting? 
 Listen here


  1. What a great list. I like the idea of the Glee CD but I haven't bought a CD since... hmmmm... when was the last time I bought a CD. In our house the very first CD we pull out at Christmas time is the carpenters christmas album. Her voice is so hauntingly beautiful.

  2. I love LOVE Christmas music, even the ones I don't love still make me happy because they're about Christmas. I'm a sucker for the classics & many bring tears to my eyes.

  3. I will never forget the most amazing rendition of O Holy Night I heard at church one christmas eve, sung by a lone man with an amazing voice.

    I wish u and your boys a wonderful Christmas Lara :)