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Help Me! I’m drowning in same-old same-old!

Christmas music, that is.

For many years I’ve had a problem with Christmas music. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I love the music which celebrates it. The problem I have is that every year we get the same music.

The Negative Examples

It all started on the day after Halloween when I walked into a local store and heard Bing singing ‘White Christmas’. Holding my hand to my throat to suppress the gag reflex I ran from the store thinking ‘I’m dreaming of a Christmas that doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving’. Actually I was thankful for Halloween for the first time. At least it kept Christmas from starting in September.

“But that’s secular,” you say. “Surely the Christian community still creatively celebrates the Incarnation?” I wish. If you pick up the twenty most popular Christian artists and look at their Christmas albums (they all have Christmas albums) you will find seven or eight ‘Christmas Standards’ on each of these albums. The same-old same-old Christmas songs and carols. If I hear one more breathy-voiced female asking me ‘What Child is This?” I’m going to hyperventilate. How many arrangements of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ can the world stand?

Worse, at least one of our local Christian stations, KSBJ, has decided that it has to run this Christmas music 24/7 from Thanksgiving to Christmas. And 24/7 requires so much music that Christian artists can’t provide it all. KSBJ has resorted to resurrecting Bing and Frank to fill out the play list. Even worse, to further fill out the play list they have included the six or eight rock-and-roll Christmas songs ever written. What does ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’ have to do with Jesus, or even with the 21st century?

A Few Positive Counter-Examples

In years of looking for good contemporary songs with new thoughts and new words, I have run across a few gems. Last year the whole ‘Christmas music track’ that runs in my head was wonderfully taken up with Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God”, an album with almost entirely new words to new music that has the bonus of also telling a coherent story. May his tribe increase! You can listen here. (Click on ‘Open Player’).

Finally, I have to give thanks for David Jackson. Sorry, can’t give you a link, but David’s written several thoughtful Christmas songs with great music. Rescue me David!

Please HELP ME in your comments by telling me about some good Christmas music, that is, songs with thoughtful new words and evocative new music.