Music is a very important part of the day to day life in our household, there is always something or someone playing some form of music in the house. Christmas is my favorite time of year for music. We generally start cranking the Christmas tunes right after Halloween. I'm not a huge fan of popularized Christmas music and I think some of it is really done with out much regard for taste let alone out of praise and respect for the birth of Christ. In fact a lot of it just reinforces my thought that we should actually loose the mythical "war on Christmas"! I mean, Larry the Cable Guy has a Christmas album? I would hold that as a perfect example of why not to shop at a particular store rather than for the clerk saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". But I digress from my original intent on this posting. I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas tunes with you. First comes "Light of Christmas Day" by Peter Mayer. This a cappella song (with background from the Brentwood UMC Choir) is very striking and the lack of accompaniant allows one to really focus on the message in Peter's lyrics. Perhaps my favorite Christmas sone is also one of Peter's. Sing Joy really speaks to me. It's about the dark, bleakness of winter being broken by the event of Christ's birth and the promise that his birth gives us. I can sing along (not very well mind you) with this song all year long. The Light of Christmas Day is on Peter's album "Echos of the Season" and "Sing Joy" can be found on "Stars and Promises".
And now for something completely different. I've really been struck by the simple beauty of ancient music. I've really grown to appreciate the tradition that is part of Christianity. While some of our history is decidely very ugly, there are jewels such as the ancient music that groups like the Rose Ensemble are working to keep alive. (I had a difficult time linking into the mp3 samples, so you'll have to go to the Rose Ensemble site and skim through it on your own. It's well worth the effort.) First is from an album of Baroque period Christmas music from Mexico entitled Celebrmos el Nino. The song Convidando esta la noche is roughly translated to "inviting this the night"; as you can imagine, it's about the birth of the Christ child. From their album "Rosa Das Rosas: Cantigas de Santa Maria and other Spiritual Songs for the Virgin" another Rose Ensemble favorite is Pues que tu, Reyna del ciclo. I won't even pretend to know the translation but the entire album is full of songs about Mary.
So, there you have a sampling of songs that you probably won't hear at the mall. I hope you'll take a few minutes to listen to them. If you do, I'd love to hear what you think.