Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas music suggestions

The existence of the Christian music industry boggles my mind. Not that Christians shouldn’t be making music, or singing about the Lord. We always have, and should. But what we find on the radio, benefiting from the industry, has been a poor imitation of secular pop music since I’ve been old enough to compare the two. The following are examples of good music that celebrates the coming of the Christ. Its singers’ discipleship is an inspiration to me moreso that their musicianship, which is also quite good.

1. Sara Groves is giving away copies of a live Christmas show she did in a women’s prison here in Illinois. This live album is good not for its sound quality but for the statement she is making by giving the concert in the first place. When my kids asked whose were the voices singing along with Sara, it was a joy to answer them, and let the joy-filled voices of women who did God-knows-what fall our ears together. Singing of Christ’s hope with inmates. That is both a proclamation and an enactment of the Kingdom.

2. Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips are a husband and wife team, and their first album together is called "Christmas," the unoriginality of which sounds like a sad conclusion to a marital argument to me. The album is good, but their rendition of "Nations that Long in Darkness Walked" is great. It adds a bridge that shows how this old hymn captures the central  message of the gospel, and the Christian's Advent longing.

“Nations That Long In Darkness Walked” by Andy Gullahorn

3. Randall Goodgame made a very fun kids' Christmas album, A Slugs and Bugs Christmas to accompany his and Andrew Peterson's Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies. Very good stuff. On the song the Happy Birthday Jesus, the "lump in my throat," is what I hope my own kids get as they realize all the hubbub is about the most important event in history.

4. And if you've never heard Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of the Christ, it's the best. And you can hear the whole album here.
Items 2-4 can be purchased at the Rabbit Room Store, which I (obviously) frequent.

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