Let’s Share Our Favorite Christmas Music

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Last night we drove the minivan up to St. Albans to see the Christmas lights. It’s a small, sweet little display and it’s been a family tradition since the boys were small. Jeff always packs them a cooler with a special drink—rootbeer for Teddy, grape soda for Jeffrey—and we all pile in (even the dog—this is Bonnie’s first Christmas, after all), play the Christmas music, and breathe deep the season. When they were tinies, I would get them all scrubbed up before we left, put them in fuzzy footie pajamas, and watch them fall asleep on the way home. So much excitement for two little boys. I’ve been a bit sentimental about these traditions this year, trying not to think, “This is the last time …” since Teddy will be going away to school next year. The treasure is in the little things.

Last night, it was important for me to drive because last year, on this same trip, with me behind the wheel, we had an accident on the way home. No one was hurt but it was scary and I’ve been going over it and over it in my mind ever since. But that’s a story for another time. The point of this story is that because I drove, Jeff was in charge of music. He turned on the Contemporary Christian Christmas station of Pandora.

And I was bored to tears.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m too particular. Music is very important in our family. We build conversations and relationships around it. Both of my boys play in the praise band on Sunday morning and Jeff leads. Little Jeffrey is in Marching Band and Indoor Drumline at the high school. When I cook dinner in the evening I’m playing Ellie Holcomb or Christa Wells or Mat Kearney or some music that feeds my soul and takes me out of the stress of the day into a new and beautiful place.

I wonder if it’s the same for you? And have you been bored with the same old ho-hum Christmas albums? All this to say, let’s share some of our favorite Christmas music, shall we? I’ll go first, and then, you. Please tell me in the comments about your favorite, favorite Christmas albums. I really want to know.

Here are some of mine, in no particular order.

  1. Brian Setzer’s Boogie Woogie Christmas. Yes. This is just fun. We have the dvd version of his Christmas Extravaganza, and we watch it every year. It’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit.
  2. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. Classic. I swoon for Bing. I also love watching The Holiday Inn this time of year. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic.
  3. A Jolly Christmas with Frank Sinatra. Nothing smoother than Frank’s voice on this album.
  4. Johnny Cash’s Christmas with Johnny Cash. I grew up with Johnny Cash playing on the radio. I’m crazy about all things Johnny. This album is no exception.
  5. Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful Christmas. We used to play this a lot when the boys were small. They loved his “Zat You Santa Claus?” It made them erupt in fits of giggles. Ah, happy memory.
  6. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Of course.
  7. Sixpence None the Richer’s The Dawn of Grace. I just love Leigh Nash’s voice.
  8. Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong. This album is so clean and lovely. Sarah’s voice is perfect.
  9. Casting Crown’s Peace on Earth. So many good songs on this one.
  10. Yo-Yo Ma’s Songs of Joy and Peace. Yes. Just to be different. The great artist has several guests performing with him, including James Taylor and Chris Thile.
  11. Over the Rhine’s Snow Angels and Blood Oranges in the Snow. Discovered this wonderful husband and wife team at Laity Lodge a few years ago and have been a fan ever since. Karen’s voice is butter.
  12. James Taylor At Christmas. I love James. This album makes me happy.
  13. Third Day’s Christmas Offerings. A very special album to us for the ways it weaves into our own story. This was released the Christmas after Jeff was saved and for that reason the songs will always be near to my heart.
  14. Chris Tomlin’s Glory in the Highest. A great album altogether but I mainly listen to hear Audrey Assad sing “Winter Snow.” I never get tired of that beautiful song.

Ok. So there are a few of my favorites. I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I publish this post. How about you? Will you share with me?

Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World

Playdates with God cover

Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World is the story of how a simple invitation to play can open our eyes to joy and call us back to an intimate relationship with God.

Do you remember when you first fell in love? When you fell in love with Jesus, was it much the same? Did you spend countless hours poring over Scripture? Did sleep suddenly seem mundane as you rose at pre-dawn each day to meet with him? Was every sunset an expression of his love and did every sermon hold a secret message just for you? Isn't this the place we all long to return to within our spiritual lives? We desire the bliss of an intimate, unrestrained love relationship with God.

Playdates with God is the story of how, when we step out of our ordinary grown-up lives and set aside time for wonder, we open our hearts to be wooed back to our first love—to the excitement we felt when we first fell in love with Jesus. But this is more than a story about falling in love.

It’s about staying in love.

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