In my apartment my Advent celebrations have begun: the Christmas music came out of storage today. As many years ago as I can remember, the day after Thanksgiving kicked off the Christmas season.
Yesterday I enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with friends. Our celebration began with a time of worshipping God for his incredible goodness to us, seen most clearly at the cross of Christ, where Jesus fully satisfied the Father’s wrath and gave us life! How else could we have celebrated God’s goodness than to acknowledge him and enjoy the good he provides as we feasted on an incredible spread of food. My culinary contribution was my Grandma Swanson’s corn pudding recipe, and a cranberry chutney from a friend. Next year I may be cooking for Thanksgiving with friends in Kiev–wow!
Today I’ve got dishes from yesterday’s cooking to wash, a few things to clean out at my place, and I’d like to get my Christmas tree. In the mean time, I’ve got classic “Swanson” Christmas music spinning in my CD player: Amy Grant’s 1983 “A Christmas Album”. The music is totally dated, but having listened to it every Christmas since I was five years old, it is part of Advent for me.
Here’s my list of five albums that are Christmas to me:
- “A Christmas Album” – Amy Grant (1983). This one is a family favorite from growing up–I don’t remember a Christmas without it.
- “Messiah” — George Frideric Handel (my copy is the English Concert & Choir, Trevor Pinnock, 1988). I always listen to the Messiah in its entirety at some point during the Advent season. This may also be the only “Christmas” album that I play throughout the year. Easter is the other season were I make sure to listen to the entire work.
- “The Promise” — Michael Card (1991). I’ve grown up with Card’s music, and his writing is a sort of musical home for me. I particularly enjoy the biblical depth of his lyrics and his eye for the paradoxes of our faith.
- “Christmas With the Academy” — Academy and Chorus of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner (1994). Twenty-three classic carols, mostly English, with a smattering of French, Germany, and Latin. Excellent, timeless music.
- “Love > > > Begotten” — Psycho Acoustic Records / Pageant Music / Ring Records (2008). I received this one last November from a friend who is one of the musicians on the album, Hiram Ring. The music has variety, takes a fresh look at a number of traditional carols, has some original songs, and the lyrics center on the celebration of Christ’s incarnation.
If you could only keep five Christmas albums, what would make your advent album list?