It seems like every band or singer, at some point, makes a Christmas album. The pattern is almost predictable: A band (or singer) becomes well-known — usually with at least two fairly popular albums under their belts — and then is approached about doing a Christmas album. The album is usually comprised of a blend of about 50% Christ-centered carols and 50% traditional holiday songs (like White Christmas or The Christmas Song). Then there are usually two (no more, no less) original Christmas songs. The music style is usually unlike their regular music; after all, who uses a big band in their pop-rock album? There are, of course, many variations from this formula–but most of you will probably recognize this formula immediately in several CDs you own.
Now, to read my description above almost sounds like I’m being snarky. But I don’t really intend this to be a criticism of such albums. In fact, I have a large collection of CDs just like I described above–and I love them. They are a regular diet of my Christmastime music listening. But there is something refreshing about a Christmas album that makes you consider Christmas in a fresh way. Here are three of my favorites:
1. Behold the Lamb of God, by Andrew Peterson and others. This album contains all original music. The focus is on telling the Christmas story primary through the lens of the Old Testament–as promises made, and promises fulfilled. Favorites on this album include Passover Us, So Long Moses, and Deliver Us. Other great songs include Labor of Love and Behold the Lamb of God.
2. Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man, by Sovereign Grace Music. This album contains all original songs, worshipful and rich in theology about the birth of our Savior. My favorites on this one are Christ the Lord is Born Today, Hope has Come, and How Sweet the Day. One of my really good friends is a worship leader and elder at his church, and he chose the same three songs as his favorites on this album.
3. Christmas… From the Realms of Glory, by Bebo Norman. This song is just delightful to listen to. It contains fewer original songs than the others, but even traditional songs like Joy to the World are done in a fresh way. I also enjoy Christmas Time is Here and Come and Worship.
My honorable mentions include: Sara Groves, O Holy Night; Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn, Christmas; and (though older), Christmas, by Michael W. Smith.
Weigh in: what are some of your favorite Christmas albums?