Tag Archives: Christmas Carols

Remembering Why Christ Came

I can’t believe it is the last Monday before Christmas! That means it is my last Music Monday before Christmas Day. I thought it was going to be hard to pick just one more Christmas song that is in my one of my favorites to post about today, but a clear front runner has emerged over the past two weeks, as I heard it on one of the few Christmas CDs I have in my car and we sung it in church. It is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

I love this song because not only does it tell of the Christ child coming into our midst, but it tells us why He came. He was born “to save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray.” It echoes one of my favorite passages in the book of Isaiah, one that we usually meditate on during the Easter season, but which is just as appropriate to consider during this season of Advent.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5-6 (NIV).

We are very much like sheep. For those who don’t know much about sheep, let me just say that they are pretty stupid creatures. They will go their own way into harm’s way without a second thought. They need a shepherd to keep them safe. We are no different. Without our Good Shepherd, we will do things and go places that are not in our best interest, often into harm’s way. Obviously we are much more intelligent than sheep, and yet when it comes to choosing among multiple options, some of which are in our best interests and some of which are not, we often seem just as stupid as sheep.

Just as sheep are easily fooled by the lure of greener pastures away from the shepherd, so we can be easily fooled by Satan into what appear to be greener pastures. We are lured by wealth and fame, by fun and games, by the easy way out. The sheep venturing away from the shepherd is often eaten by wolves. When we venture away from the Shepherd we often find a similar fate of pain and sorrow.

But Jesus, our Good Shepherd, came so that we would be able to see through the lies of Satan and choose the better way, that we might know the comfort and joy of our Lord.

Here is a video of the MercyMe version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that I have been listening to in my car. It is accompanied by a cool light show with someone’s Christmas lights.

 

I also like this instrumental version played on violin, piano, and ocarina, because my son plays the ocarina. (In fact, don’t tell him but I got him a new clay ocarina for Christmas).

 

As you listen to these beautiful renditions of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, or hear it somewhere else, or sing it in church, remember why Christ came. Remember that because He came, those who trust in Him have the power to overcome the lies and tricks of the evil one. We have the power to live a life that glorifies God.

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Lots of Blue – My Tuesday Three

There are so many great Christmas songs, and I know I will never be able to share every one of my favorites this Christmas season. (I guess it’s okay to save some for next Christmas J).

Most of my favorites are religious Christmas songs (that seems a little redundant, but since there are so many non-religious, or secular, Christmas songs these days, it really isn’t). I’m not big on the “Santa Claus is coming to town” type of Christmas songs. But there are a few non-religious Christmas songs that I love. I wanted to reserve Music Mondays for my favorite religious ones, so decided that for My Tuesday Three today I would share three of my favorite non-religious ones.

One of my very favorite non-religious Christmas songs is “Pretty Paper” as sung by Willie Nelson. I know some people don’t like his voice and think he should stick to songwriting. This song, written by Willie Nelson, has been recorded by others. But I think he does the best rendition of this song that I have heard.

The reason I like it, even though it is a bit sad, is because it is a reminder that we need to take the focus off the busy-ness of Christmas, the rushing to and fro to buy presents for everyone, and remember those who are in need. We need to remember those who in the midst of the laughter sit alone and cry. Whenever I wrap presents in pretty paper and ribbons of blue I think of this song.

Another of my favorite non-religious Christmas songs is also a little sad and involves blue – “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley. Many have recorded this sad tale of someone who is alone at Christmas, having lost the one they love, but the Elvis version is my favorite.

The reason I like it is that it is a reminder of what is most important at Christmas – next to Jesus, of course – and that is relationships. It is a reminder that spending Christmas with friends, family, and a special loved one is such a blessing.

My third favorite non-religious Christmas song doesn’t have anything to do with blue, and is the only one that mentions Santa. It is “Merry Christmas Baby” by Bruce Springsteen. This one was also recorded by Elvis, but I like the Springsteen version.

The reason I like this song is because it is a reminder that treating each other right is so important at Christmas time and always. (Oh, and for those of you who have never seen Bruce Springsteen in concert, don’t worry – that’s not people booing him at the end of the video – they are yelling “Bruuuuuuuuce.”)

I hope you enjoy these Christmas songs, that you remember those who are in need this Christmas, don’t have a blue Christmas, and always treat your loved ones right. Merry Christmas!

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The Greatest Gift

As Christmas approaches and I think about shopping for family and friends, what gifts shall I buy for all of them? What do they want?

Then I think, more importantly, what do they need? What they need is the greatest gift ever given. It is the gift that the heavenly host proclaimed to the shepherds: “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11. This King who left His throne in heaven to be a little baby, to come and live, and then die, all for our sake.

This is the gift we all need, the gift given in love. It’s not a gift we earned or were entitled to, which is what makes it the best gift of all.  Unlike the gifts that Santa brings, it is not predicated on being on the “nice” list. We do not forfeit this gift because we are on the “naughty” list. In fact, in reality we are all on the “naughty” list but God loves us nonetheless.  As Paul wrote, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

We need not give anything in return; we can just accept the gift. But somehow, just accepting this loving gift of our Creator, the gift of Himself, creates in the heart a desire to give something in return. Of course, there is nothing God needs from us. So what can we possibly give? The best gift we can give to God is ourselves and our devotion to telling others of His greatest gift.

Over the past week or so I have been listening to a lot of Christmas carols. I just love O Holy Night and What Child Is This? and O Come O Come Immanuel and Silent Night and so many others that sing the praises of this wonderful gift of Jesus, the Word made flesh. They make me smile and cry tears of joy all at the same time.

This greatest gift of all has been offered to everyone, and that includes you! Have you received it yet? It truly is the most precious gift you will ever receive.

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Christmas As JR Cash Knew It

One of my fellow bloggers, who often posts just a simple quote, posted today the quote: “Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” Shortly after I had read and commented on her post, the song “Christmas As I Knew It” by Johnny Cash came on my iPod. (I’ve been listening to Christmas music all day!) It was a perfect complement to Rea’s quote because it shows the wonderful gifts of gratitude and generosity that Johnny Cash’s dad taught him, even though they were quite poor. So I decided to share the lyrics with you all today!

Christmas As I Knew It, by Johnny Cash

One day near Christmas when I was just a child
Mama called us together and mama tried to smile
She said you know the cotton crop hadn’t been too good this year
There’s not a lot of spending money and well at least we’re all here

I hope you won’t expect a lot of Christmas presents
Just be thankful that there is plenty to eat
That’ll make things a little more pleasant
And us kids got to thinking how really blessed we were
At least we were all healthy and most of all we had her

Roy cut down a pine oak tree and we drug it home Jack and me
Daddy killed a squirrel and Louise made the bread
Reba decorated the tree with popcorn strings before we went to bed
Mama and daddy sacrificed because this Christmas was kind of lean
After all there was the babies Tom and Joanne
And babies need a few things

I whittled a whistle for my brother Jack
And though we disagreed now and then
When I gave Jack that whistle he knew I thought the world of him
Mama made the girl’s dresses out of flour sacks
And when she ironed them down
You couldn’t tell that they hadn’t come from town

A sharecropper family across the road didn’t have it as good as us
They didn’t even have a light and it was way past dusk
And mama said “Well I bet they don’t even have coal oil
Let alone apples and oranges and such”

Me and Jack took a jar of coal oil nd some hickernuts we’d found
We walked to the sharecropper’s porch and set ‘em down
A poor old ragged lady eased open the door
She picked up the coal oil and hickernuts and said
“I sure do thank you” and quickly closed the door

We started back home me and Jack
And about halfway we stopped looked back
And in the sharecropper’s window at last was a light
So for one of the neighbors and for us it was a good Christmas night

Christmas came and Christmas went
Christmas that year was heaven-sent
And my daddy put on his rubber boots
And paced the floor waiting for the thaw
Back home in Dyess Arkansas

May you experience a heaven-sent Christmas with your family and neighbors!

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My Favorite Christmas Carols

I’ve been listening to Christmas carols and hymns since Friday. I didn’t have time to write my usual post today, partly because my computer was being used for homework purposes (which does take priority around here). But I wanted to share the lyrics of my two favorite Christmas carols.

The first is O Holy Night. I love this song because it focuses on the true meaning of Christmas. I’ve bolded my favorite line:

O 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!

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!

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!

My second favorite Christmas hymn is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I love this song because it includes the name Emmanuel, which means God with us. This is my favorite name for Jesus. These are the four verses we sang in church last Sunday, but there are several others:

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

I would love to hear in comments what your favorite Christmas carol or hymn is, and why you like it. Merry Christmas!

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