What are you enjoying right now?
We thought we would change up Favorites for the Christmas season. This time of year we all have favorites—favorite movies, favorite recipes, favorite gifts, favorite memories, favorite songs, and more.
Today, the Facts & Trends staff discusses their favorite Christmas carols and songs. But we also want to hear from you. What’s your favorite song to sing or hear on the radio this time of year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @FactsAndTrends.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: I’m fairly strict on the “no Christmas music before Thanksgiving” rule, but once December rolls around, I usually listen to carols and holiday music driving in the car and anytime our family is decorating or doing something Christmas related.
I think all of us are “cheating” on our list by mentioning more than one song, but there are so many wonderful carols and fun songs that it makes it difficult to choose just one. O Holy Night is such a hauntingly beautiful song that touches on the results of the incarnation. Silent Night is so elegant and timeless. Growing up, I listened to The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) on a cassette at my grandmother’s house and Disney characters sing Sleigh Ride on a record player at my house. Those have special meaning.
Because it would be impossible for me to choose one of those songs that have such deep memories for me, I’m going to say the newer song I have been enjoying recently – Downhere’s How Many Kings? It captures the melancholy that exists in the reality of Christmas. There is such joy in God coming down as a man, but such sorrow in the reason why He had to come.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: As one who was named for these “songs of joy,” I have a hard time choosing just one carol as my favorite. So allow me to mention two that I find especially meaningful. The first is Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming. The tune is more melancholy than merry, but suits the tension of celebrating life out of death. My favorite version of this carol is by Sting.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
Go, Tell It on the Mountain holds a special memory for me. It always reminds me of Christmas Eve services at the church where I grew up. Instead of ending the service with the traditional Silent Night, our church always ended with this reminder to take the good news of our Savior’s birth, death, and resurrection to the ends of the earth! I’m particularly fond of the version by The Blind Boys of Alabama. It’s fantastic!
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: I really love the exuberance of Joy to the World— such a fantastic, uplifting song. But, I’ll go with O Holy Night. I love the lines:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
It’s such a hopeful song. Christmas marks the end of waiting—or at least one kind of waiting—and invites new hope into our weary world. Kerrie Roberts has a beautiful version of the song.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer:
For me, no Christmas is complete without Joy to the World, the jubilant hymn from Isaac Watts and Lowell Mason. I hear those opening notes and always feel better.
The song became a lifeline about eight years ago, after the death of my younger brother. Especially this verse:
No more let sins and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessing flow,
far as the curse is found.
Amen to that.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I like all Christmas carols! I can’t pick just one. My top 5: O Holy Night, Silent Night, Mary Did You Know, Away in a Manger, and of course Joy to the World.
I find myself singing Christmas carols in my head all December. My co-workers are probably glad I don’t sing out loud because I’m not that good! Ha!