It has been a Christmas tradition in my family to pull out the decorations, pictures, books, movies, food, and music for the month of December. And, I know I’m not alone.
These things help cultivate an appropriate atmosphere for the season. Together, they give us a distinct experience of cheer and enjoyment by which we look forward and reflect back. Mostly, they cultivate meditations of Jesus incarnate—God with us.
One of the things I look forward to is hearing my Christmas playlist—which I’ve maintained to be available only during this season. These songs have been instrumental in my meditations and activities with my wife and children. Some of them are for fun, some are for relaxing, and some are for reflecting. Here are the five Christmas albums that get me in the season.
How Many Kings by Downhere
This album tops my list. It touches on every part of the Christmas experience. The title track, “How Many Kings,” is now a popular song, nearly a household tune. The band also reinvents some of the old songs like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Silent Night” (Magnificent, in my opinion!), and others. They also have fun songs to really draw in the little ones, like “Good King Wenceslas.”
Advent to Christmas by PageCXVI
This one is new to my playlist. I’ve been a fan of the Hymns collection by PageCXVI, so this one came naturally. The great thing about Hymns was how they kept the sacred sound of the original songs. The same is true for their Christmas album. It is solemn and melodic—perfect for stirring up your affections for Christ.
The Dawn of Grace by Sixpence None the Richer
Every Christmas playlist has to have variety, so I’m told. Sixpence brings variety to mine. Their album, The Dawn of Grace, contains familiar remakes like “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Of course, the sweet voice of the award-winning Leigh Nash is no stranger to us. She gives these songs a good touch. But, it is the rare songs like “Riu Riu Chiu” and “Some Children See Him” that attracted me. And, if I can say this without losing my manliness, “Christmas for Two,” is quite the gift.
Carols by LifeChurch.tv
For the more contemporary heart in us, LifeChurch offers the album, Carols. It contains wonderful contemporary remakes of “O Holy Night,” “Noel,” “What Child is This,” and many more. This is a solid album. But, my favorite song on the album—possibly my favorite in the playlist—is “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” This song is worth it all. Here is a video promo for the album, with that song leading the way.
Gift Rap by Cross Movement
My list wouldn’t be complete without songs for the teens and gangsters. Yeah, I said gangsters. Years ago, Cross Movement released the first hip hop Christmas album called Gift Rap. Of course, you won’t find any remakes of traditional Christmas songs on it. It’s all original. They have narrative songs like “Wisemen” and “Came Down,” theological songs like “The King’s Speech” and “Invasion Day,” as well as a few personal reflections and memorial works like “Different Kind of Christmas” and “Tell You Why.” This is definitely an album for the kids.
Extra: Toy Packaging by Sara Groves
Speaking of kids, no song does it for them like this one. It is the number one song request in my family. We love to listen to it and act it out together. It’s a family event. The song is about the terrors of opening toy packaging for Christmas. If you are a parent, then you know exactly what she is talking about. Here is a free download for you.
Purchase the album O Holy Night from Amazon.