The Music of Christmas

What brings Christmas to life for me is music, most of all.

For the most part, Christmas music is very unique. Yes, there are some who make Christmas music sound like everyday music with different words, but the truly meaningful songs of the Advent and Christmas season are unique.

There are songs that are more “secular” in nature – White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, I’ll be home for Christmas. And there’s nothing wrong with these songs, they are some of my favorite Christmas songs!

But for a song to be a true Christmas carol it has to have at least one major theme – the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is about the incarnation of the Son of God, which is another way of saying “the birth of Jesus.”

C.S. Lewis called Christmas “the grand miracle.” What about Easter? Without Christmas, Easter wouldn’t be possible!Jesus cannot rise from the dead, he cannot die, unless he first becomes a living human being!

All this is to say that Christmas is important. Not everything about Christmas is, of course. Here I mean what I’ve been noticing more and more on TV and radio – the emphasis on the buying and spending and the “commercialization” of Christmas. Which, of course, is nothing new.

This year, I’ll try to get back to the real meaning of Christmas and the best way I know how is through its music.

The stories of how some of the great Christmas Carols came to be are taken from Ace Collins’ book Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Zondervan Publishing, 2001. The songs I’ll explore this week are: O Holy Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, and Silent Night.

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