Friday, December 21, 2007

The Music of Christmas

For me, there are lots of Christmas albums which are part of my holiday listening. But there are two or three Christmas CDs which really seem to share the heart of the amazing message of Christmas.

When Steven Curtis Chapman's "The Music of Christmas" came out in 1995, I fell in love with it instantly. My faith revolves so firmly around the Incarnation - Emmanuel, God with us - that this album just anchored itself in my heart instantly. There is nothing that will cure Grinch-yness like hearing br'er Chapman's voice proclaiming God's presence, here in the real world.

And the blessing and absurdity of Christ's birth comes through in his song "This Baby:"

"This baby made the angels sing,
And this baby made a new star shine in the sky
This baby had come to change the world
This baby was God’s own son,
this baby was like no other one
This baby was God with us -
This baby was Jesus!"

Then there is the song by the group 4Him from "The Season of Love" CD, with the chorus which captures the seeming insanity of the Incarnation:

"Now I'm not one to second guess
what angels have to say -
But this is such a strange way
to save the world..."

But for me, the essence of Christmas is captured in a beautiful ballad by Chapman, reminding us of just how real this Jesus really is, all year long:

One of us is cryin’
as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains,
And we’re left all alone -
One of us is dyin’
as our love is slowly lowered in the grave,
Oh and we’re left all alone -
But for all of us who journey
through the dark abyss of loneliness
There comes a great announcement,
We are never alone -
For the maker of each heart that breaks,
the giver of each breath we take
Has come to earth
and given hope it’s birth

And our God is with us - Emmanuel
He's come to save us - Emmanuel
And we will never face life alone
Now that God has made Himself known
As Father and Friend,
With us through the end - Emmanuel!
(Steven Curtis Chapman, "Our God Is With Us")

And then, of course, there is the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin - and I'm telling you, no church choir has EVER proclaimed the birth of Christ like she does:

So much of this season will focus on shopping, gifts, Christmas cards, parties - the busyness and the business of a holiday. But thank you, God, for men and women of talent, who by their words and music point me back to the manger, back to Bethlehem... back to Jesus - God with us. Right here, with us. Amen.


Diane said...

we like Aretha here, too.

hennhouse said...

Man can she sing! I love the music of the season, too.

Sing&Wonder said...

SCC caught my heart back in 1995, actually 96- with some new and beautiful expressions of faith and worship also. Just found your blog- looks intriguing to another 50-something wanderer.