Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Seeing as it is December 24th, Christmas Eve, here are 24 songs to get you in the festive spirit. I am somewhat of a Christmas song collector, so it was daunting narrowing nearly 250 Christmas songs down to 24. I tried to choose ones that particularly touch me and/or eclectic versions I figured most people wouldn't have.
Some are straight ahead carols, some are artist's renditions of classics, some are classics, and some are just goofy! Enjoy and have a great Christmas.
1.) The Chipmunk Song - Alvin and the Chipmunks
2.) Come and Worship - Bebo Norman
3.) Blue Christmas - Bright Eyes
4.) Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols
5.) Christmas Song - Dave Matthews Band
6.) Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) - Death Cab for Cutie
7.) You Gotta Get Up - Five Iron Frenzy
8.) Holly Jolly Christmas - The Format
9.) Christmas Baby - G. Love
10.) Carol of the Meows - Guster
11.) Feliz Navidad - Home Grown
12.) Someday at Christmas - Jack Johnson
13.) Love Came Down at Christmas - Jars of Clay
14.) Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Mason Jennings
15.) O Come, O Come Emmanuel - The Normals
16.) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Pedro the Lion
17.) Winter Wonderland - Phantom Planet
18.) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Relient K
19.) Christmas Wrap - Run DMC
20.) What Child Is This? - Sojourn
21.) Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Twisted Sister
22.) O Holy Night - Valvalis
23.) Christmastime is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio
24.) O Little Town of Bethlehem - The Young Fresh Fellows
(Be on the lookout for a 2009 wrap-up, including but not limited to music, movies, and occurrences that made 2008 rather wonderful!)
The muse of Christmas has been escaping me this year. I’ve wanted to write during these past few weeks about the holiday season and what it means to me, but I found myself so terribly wrapped up in the dread of finals week at school that nothing creative was going on inside or outside of my head. Since I’ve been home, family and friends have been possessing my attention, which is fitting and how it should be. However, that still means I have had little time to write. So, here I am, the morning of Christmas Eve, setting aside an hour or so (whatever I can get) while the house is still quiet to put some thoughts down.
Initially, I wanted to do an essay or rant-style post about the ever-frustrating plague of consumerism and materialism during Christmastime. I fall into the category of wanting to make gifts, spend time with the people I love, and worship God for all He is and everything He has done, the things we celebrate at Christmas. (Christmas can be a simple and beautiful holiday if we choose.) I might almost be a little too extreme in this camp of minimalist consumerism, but it is mostly to impress upon other folks the ridiculous attitude of shopping and buying when the holiday actually centers around the love of God coming down to us in the form of a baby. The two do not seem very congruous to me. Also, I’ve never been very good at receiving gifts.
At the same time, I see the merit of honest gift-giving with love and gift-getting with grace and thanks. The wise men came with precious items of great value to give the promised king. Thus, I find it hard to rage against the machine.
However, there are two more valid truths that are impressed upon me this time of year through hearing the Christmas story, ones that don’t leave me feeling chastising and hypocritical.
The first is that the first visitors of Jesus came and worshipped a baby (Matthew 1:11, Luke 2:20). I feel like this is so overlooked. Worship comes first. It is a beautiful and necessary reminder that Christmas would not exist without Christ. Because of this, all praise and honor be unto a baby who came to die, to be a sacrifice such that I can be forgiven and acceptable in God’s eyes. Therefore, I strive to worship, in everything I say and do. Acknowledgement of God’s awesome love and mercy this time of year is paramount.
The second is that God calls the lowly, the downtrodden, the rejected, and the underappreciated to be key players in His love story. The “least of these” shine in God’s orchestration. I love the story of the shepherds written in Luke 2, how they were probably dozing off on a clear, dark night, minding their own business, when they were chosen to receive the message of Jesus’ birth first! The angels came and filled the sky (they, too, were worshipping and praising, by the way!) and told good news of great joy for all people. What does God want to do with stinky shepherds? EVERYTHING! (Refer back to the part where the good news of great joy is for ALL PEOPLE.) This trend is seen time and time again throughout the gospels, and is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
God can be whatever He wants to be, but I have a suspicion that He is a poet. What story of all-encompassing love and compassion could be written any better?
God be praised.
I encourage you, no matter who you are or where you are at in terms of God and faith-type things, to think about these things and what they mean in your life, and how God really makes this season so important and memorable for all of humanity.