Christmas comes but once a year. Thank goodness! I know I should love Christmastime, but, honestly, as an adult, I just don’t. Not really. Not like I should. I love Jesus, I love that He was born. I love what Christmas stands for. I even love putting up Christmas decorations. And, I especially love the tastes and smells that go along with Christmastime. (Real Christmas trees smell so good. Sweets and candies and baked goods, taste so yummy!) I don’t like Christmastime for the simple fact that it is stressful. And, I hate anything that is stressful.
Now, that stuff being said, there is another thing that I do LOVE about Christmastime—the music! Oddly enough though, I can’t listen to it nonstop for the whole month of December anymore. I used to be able to do that. Now, I have to enjoy it bits and pieces at a time. I will listen to it for a while, then switch to something else. Then, later, I will switch back to it. I think the main reason is because I hear a lot of the same old Christmas songs over and over and over. And, while I do love what I refer to as the “old classics”, I can’t deal with hearing them over and over and over in the same day. I know, I know, I know…I am turning into a crotchety old lady!
However, there are some great Christmas songs that I adore, that I can’t get enough of. In fact, most of these I only hear because I play them for myself. They don’t get much air play on the radio, or Pandora, or XM. So, I thought I would share them with you. Below, in no particular order, are my favorite Christmas songs of all time that I don’t hear much on the radio. This is my Christmas gift to you. Merry Christmas! You can thank me later!
1) “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Viva Voce on Happy Christmas Vol.2
Ok, I lied before. (About the “in no particular order” thing. After this song, that applies.) This song is my very favorite Christmas song ever. That is why I have it first. I have always liked the lyrics of this song. But, Viva Voce cranks it and their version ROCKS!!! I can listen to this one song on repeat for hours. (Yes, I know, it’s sad.)
2) “Santa’s Beard” – They Might Be Giants
I am a huge TMBG fan. I have been since high school, thanks to my friend Sabrina. Two guys named John make up the band. They are just fun. Most of their songs are completely crazy and/or silly and I love it! I mean, sometimes life just calls for things that put a huge smile on your face.
3) “Blue Christmas” with Porky Pig
I am also a huge fan of cartoons. I grew up on Bugs Bunny. If you are at least my age or older, I am sure it was a staple for you too. So, I know you love Porky Pig just as much as I do.
4) “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” – Alvin and the Chipmunks
My mom and dad bought me this album, yes the vinyl kind, when I was a kid. I always thought Theodore was the best. And, their version of this classic, where they talk to Rudolph, is my favorite version of this song. I love to hear Rudolph talk!
5) “Christmas in Hollis” – Run-D.M.C.
This song and the video make me laugh. And, if you grew up in the 80’s, Run D.M.C. is a staple.
6) “Father Christmas” – The Kinks
When you grow up in a household where your dad is a musician, you tend to follow his taste in music. The Kinks are one of my dad’s favorite groups and this song has a great beat!
7) “Grown Up Christmas List” – Natalie Cole
Now this song is one of my hubby’s favs. As an adult, I love the lyrics and agree with them completely. Add in Natalie’s spectacular voice and this song brings tears to my eyes every. time.
8) “Wonderful Christmastime” – Jars of Clay
No offense to Sir Paul McCartney, but I do NOT like his version of this song. Actually, I have heard other versions of this song and didn’t like those either. I am not sure exactly what it is about this Jars of Clay version, but they not only make this song good, but they make it heart-filling. (And, as a side note, their whole Christmas album, entitled Christmas Songs, is really good.)
9) “I’d Like to Hitch a Ride With Santa” – The Andrews Sisters
I am a sucker for the swing and boogie-woogie era. I could watch those movie musicals all day long. Of course, The Andrews Sisters are the epitome of that era. They had the vocal range and harmonies that many people, even today, would kill for. And, this little ditty is just a fun and different Christmas tune!
10) “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – Aaron Shust
This song they actually do play a good bit on the radio. And, I am sooo glad. It is different in that the music sounds like it is from Israel or something. It is super cool!
11) “We Three Kings” – Hugh Jackman, David Hobson, and Peter Cousen
This Christmas song is one of my all-time favs. And, you NEVER hear it anywhere. I just don’t understand. I even had a hard time finding a version online to share with you guys. But, I did come across this cheesy version featuring Hugh Jackman. And, I am a fan of both Hugh and cheese!
12) “2000 Miles” – The Pretenders
What woman who loves music, doesn’t love Chrissie Hynde? Her voice is so, well, Chrissie. And, this song isn’t strictly a “Christmas” song. It is one of those rare songs that you can play year-round.
13) “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” – Harry Connick, Jr.
I am a HUGE Harry fan. When his Christmas album “When My Heart Finds Christmas” came out in 1993, I went out and bought it and basically wore it out, I played it so often. The whole album is great, but this song and “(It Must Have Been Ol’) Santa Claus” are my two favorites. “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” is a song from the movie “Babes in Toyland”. This is a fun old Disney movie from 1961. If you get the chance to watch it, you should! But, in my humble opinion, the best “Babes in Toyland” is the 1934 version with Laurel and Hardy. Talk about a fun movie—it is one I try to catch every year at Christmas. It is a classic, and even though it was made 83 years ago, it still holds up well. The simple, silly comedy makes it such a pleasure to watch. Sorry, I digress…
14) “Carol of the Bells” – Family Force 5
“Carol of the Bells” is such a popular song, you can find a plethora of different versions of it, and just about all of them are good. While Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version is probably everyone’s favorite and the most played and well-known, this version by Family Force 5 is cool and kitschy and addicting. (At least, I think so.) Give it a listen and see what you think.
15) “Most Beautiful Time of the Year” – Beckah Shae
Never heard of Beckah Shae? I hadn’t either until about a week ago. I am not sure what rock I have been living under, but thankfully I have seen the light! Beckah is a Christian pop artist and her voice is AMAZING. I just had to include it. High energy, it makes you want to get up and dance. And, it is another one that I can listen to over and over and over.
So, what do you guys think? Did I leave your favorite off the list? Have a rare gem you want to share with me? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below. And, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
After work each day, I take our dog, Clancey, for a walk. Getting in this little bit of exercise each day is good for both of us. I have always enjoyed being outside, feeling the sunshine on my face, and getting fresh air. A few months ago, I realized that this is also the perfect opportunity to spend time with God. I have now gotten into the habit of using this time to just be thankful. I review my day and simply thank God for all the good things I have in my life. If you have the chance to do this each day, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t have a dog, go for a walk by yourself. Actually, you won’t be by yourself, you will be with God! It is a great way to spend your time—it is refreshing on so many levels.
Yesterday during our evening walk, I had a revelation. (Stick with me now, it will take me a bit to get to the revelation.)
Now that the time has changed and it gets dark early, people tend to stay inside more. By the time I get home from work, change clothes, and have dinner, the walks we take are completely in the dark. Usually our neighborhood is teeming with kids running around and playing and a good number of adults are outside doing yardwork or are playing with their kids. We are blessed to have nice neighbors and I enjoy hearing the kids playing and having fun.
Yesterday was different. Now that it gets dark early, no one is outside much. And, yesterday it was a cold and rainy day. That means even fewer people are outside. (And, I don’t blame them. I prefer being inside where it is dry and warm too.)
By the time Clancey and I got outside for our walk our neighborhood felt deserted. It felt like we were the only two living creatures on the planet. I mean, I couldn’t hear birds or squirrels or even the wind pushing the leaves around. It was different from our norm.
As we made our way down the street, this peacefulness settled on me. Clancey, God bless him, must stop every ten feet to sniff the grass and bushes and flowers and mailboxes and dirt and rocks. (You get the idea.) Most of the time our walks feel more like a game of stop and go.
But, as we were stopped and as Clancey was sniffing, this beautiful peaceful feeling just came upon me. I mean, I felt like it literally grabbed me, it was so eye-opening. There was this permeating silence. It was eerie at first, almost other-worldly. I looked around and saw no-one and heard nothing. (Again, no birds, no squirrels, no wind, no cars from the nearby street, nothing!)
Being the music lover that I am, I immediately starting singing the lyrics to the Eagles song, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” in my head. Right after that though, I started to think about God, and it dawned on me, this stillness, this quietness, this peacefulness—it WAS God. I just knew it was Him in my gut. I got tears in my eyes. I immediately began thanking Him for making himself known and for such a beautiful, peaceful, breath-taking moment.
Then, I had another revelation: this peacefulness that I was experiencing, it was NOT just a momentary peacefulness—it a new place that I am in in my life! So, in other words, I had the realization that I am in a place in my life where I am at peace. I realized that even though I have my fair share of problems--and I have plenty, they don’t matter. Why? Because I have God. It is just that simple. Actually, it is so simple, it kind of blew me away to think about it.
Oddly enough, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” that ran through my head helped me to comprehend this. Some of the lyrics go:
I got a peaceful easy feelin'
And I know you won't let me down
'Cause I'm already standin'
On the ground
These lyrics made me think of God. Do they you?
God won’t let us down and He is the solid ground that we stand on. Plus, when we put Him first in our lives, He gives us peace.
I doubt that the Eagles had God in mind when they wrote these lyrics, but they fit God perfectly. Then this in turn, made me think of the hymn “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote.
The refrain of this hymn goes:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
If you believe in God and lean on Him in your life, you don’t have to worry about anything. He has you covered! It may be hard to believe, but it is true. I hope you will give yourself this amazing gift—the gift of knowing God and His peace. He isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing!
Being an adult can be hard. Let me rephrase that, being a RESPONSIBLE adult IS hard. I often see a meme floating around Facebook that says something to the effect of, “What I miss most about being a kid is not paying bills.” I agree with this statement. Being a responsible adult means paying for everything from food and clothing, to a place to live and power and water. (And that is just the “essential” stuff.) And, this is just the tip of the proverbial “responsible adult” iceberg.
As a responsible adult, you must do things like hold down a job, keep food in the refrigerator, keep the house clean, and do yard work. Throw in some pets and/or kids in the mix and your responsibilities just quadrupled in size. With all these responsibilities weighing us down, it can be nice to daydream about being a kid again.
Go back with me won’t, you? I was blessed as a kid. I had a mom and a dad and younger brother. We had a nice house, plenty of food and clothes, and toys galore. Looking back, I can’t see one area in our lives in which we lacked. We had family and friends. We went to church. There was love surrounding us. I felt safe and secure. I honestly don’t remember worrying about anything. (At least nothing of any significance.) It doesn’t get much better than that.
Now, I know that this is not the case for everyone. And, if you are reading this and didn’t experience these things growing up, I am truly sorry. I hope that as an adult, your life has gotten better. (If not, I have some great news for you—it can get better! Once you invite Jesus into your life, He can and will make it better, if you allow Him to.)
For those of us who can look back on our childhoods with a sense of security and contentment, I have a question for you. Do you feel that sense of security and contentment today, as an adult? Answer truthfully now.
I have a feeling that a lot of you are like in me, in that your answer would depend on the day. Some days I do feel safe and secure and content, other days, not so much. I guess this is the joy of being an adult. (I hope you can pick up on the sarcasm in that last sentence.)
I am a music lover and enjoy music of all sorts and types. Right now, I am in a season of life where I LOVE Contemporary Christian music and my favorite radio station is the Joy FM. (If you haven’t listened to them, please do—you won’t regret it!) There is a great song that is in rotation right now by David Dunn called I Wanna Go Back. In this song, David sings about the simpler times when he was kid. It is a fun and upbeat song that always brings a smile to my face.
On Thursday afternoons on the Jayar Show, Jayar hosts “chats” with famous Christian people. Most of these are the very Contemporary Christian artists that fill the airwaves on the Joy FM. A few weeks ago, Jayar chatted with David Dunn. During their conversation, Jayar asked David about I Wanna Go Back and what the song is about. If you know the song, you probably had the same thought I did, it is about looking back on our youth and realizing what a much simpler time it was. And, I do think it is about that. However, David’s response had much more breadth and depth to it. And, when he shared it, I was taken aback.
David shared that what his song is about is going back to that carefree time as a child when we felt safe and secure, but that it was more than that. He talks about how in reality, our Heavenly father is the one who provides this safety and security. Our perception is incorrect. As kids, we feel like our parents are taking care of us and there are no worries. But, it isn’t our parents if for us, it is God. He says we tend to forgot about that aspect of Jesus. (The fact that He is the one who is taking care of us.)
Isn’t this an amazing revelation? It certainly was to me! I mean, I know this truth, but I never thought of it in these terms before. David uses such a great analogy to open our eyes. David wisely says, “Faith, in the purest form, is the same as it was when I was a little kid.”
The fact that God took care of not only me, but my parents and brother all those years ago, just drives the point home that He is taking care of me now. As an adult, on those days when I don’t necessarily feel like my life is all that safe and secure, I have no need to worry about it. I have Jesus and He will take superb care of me—just like He always has. Doesn’t this make you feel a whole lot lighter? Better? More free? I know it does me!
Thinking ahead to Easter and in writing my blog post last week, I have been reminiscing a lot lately about the old hymns that we sung in church while I was growing up. I really miss those songs of old. So, in this post, I thought I would share with you some of my all-time favorite hymns. Check them out below. They are in no particular order. I was trying to decide which is my favorite, and I just can’t choose. I hope you enjoy!
One of my most favorite things in this world is music. There are so many different kinds and each one is wonderful and unique and serves a purpose in its own right. I like just about every kind of music there is. I don’t think there has ever been one type or genre I have heard that didn’t make an impression on me in some form or fashion.
The great thing about music is that it is medicinal. I truly believe that music has the power to heal us, to make us happy, to make us whole. I mean, honestly, when you hear a song you really like, doesn’t your mood change? Don’t you feel instantly happier? Isn’t being happy a great thing? Isn’t that medicinal?
Music has this magical way of transforming us. It can calm and soothe. It can change our mood. It can make us laugh and smile. The lyrics can open our eyes and make us think. They can make remind of what is important, or not to take things too seriously. These are all good things!
Music also has this way of transporting us. It is a time machine. I know that you know exactly what I mean. When we hear songs from our past, our minds take us back to specific times and places and feelings. Isn’t that wonderful and amazing??
Often in life, I think many people have wished for a “happy pill”—an ingestible something that we can take to make us happy. Well, isn’t that what music is? But, instead of ingesting it through our mouths, we ingest it through our ears! And, thanks to today’s technology, it is cheap and readily available. Oh, and I promise you, if you listen to the right kind, to the kind that you enjoy—whatever that is, it will lift your spirit!
Back in May of last year, Chau Tu wrote an article for The Atlantic called “Can Music Be Used as Medicine?” It is a fascinating article that, I believe, proves that music is indeed medicine. You can read the article here.
And, the next time you are feeling down, or lonely, or sad, remember to crank up some music that you love. You will start to feel better in no time!
This past week has been a really rough one. We lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Dan Haggerty. Celine Dion lost her husband, followed two days later by her brother. All five of these men were lost to cancer. Each one of them will be dearly missed.
I have been listening to David Bowie’s music all week. He has always been a favorite of mine. Thanks to my parents, I grew up listening to rock and roll music, and it and Bowie have always been a part of my life. It will always hold a special place in my heart, as will David Bowie.
As I spent time listening to Bowie’s music, I got to wondering about his personal thoughts and views on religion. His music is so full of spirituality and often mentions God or religion, so how could I not wonder about it?
From what I have read, Bowie, like most of us, had questions about life—where do we come from, why are we here? His songs hint at the fact that he does believe in God, or at least, in something greater than ourselves. While I find that comforting in a way, I also find it heartbreaking. In an interview with Anthony DeCurtis, Bowie stated, “… I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me.” Towards the end of the interview though, Bowie said, “That’s the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God—so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true…Hell, don’t pose me that one.”
It is like he wants to believe in God, but doesn’t quite know how to. Or, that he does believe in God but just doesn’t realize it. (Is that even possible? This is the reason I say heartbreaking above--because from everything I have read, he never declares that he definitely does believe in God. )
Which leads me in another direction. This may seem arbitrary, but I will circle back around. At the end, it should all come together and make sense. At least, I hope it does! Please bear with me here.
At the nonprofit where I work, we have a leadership program. It is designed to help young and mid-management professionals to enhance their leadership skills and integrate their Christian faith in the workplace. And, while I realize that I may be partial, it is a pretty great program. This past Thursday we held the graduation ceremony for the fifth class of participants.
Each year for graduation, we identify a class member who has excelled in the program and ask that person to give a speech on how the program has affected them. This year we chose a gentleman by the name of Mark Van Zant.
Mark gave a stirring and poignant speech—one that also got me to thinking. He talked about how our spiritual journey is very much like planning for vacation. The long and short of his speech highlighted the importance of planning for your trip, and especially how important it is to decide who you take with you on your journey. (He compared our spiritual journeys with preparing for trips or vacations here on earth.)
As we grow spiritually and learn more about God, if we are doing it right, we should want to be sharing God and His goodness with everyone we meet. We should want to bring everyone we love and care about on our journey. We should want everyone we love and care about to learn about God and to become saved.
I truly believe our purpose here on earth is to love each other and help each other. We should be doing God’s work. We are His hands and feet here on earth. Our job is to show others what an amazing and great God our God is! Our job is to lead more people to God and helped them to be saved. That is what we are here for.
So, back to David Bowie, and thinking about his life and his incomparable body of work, and now his premature death—I can only think about how important it is that we lead others to Christ. While it may seem off base or weird, especially considering that I didn’t know Bowie personally, but I have become truly concerned with his soul. I want him to be in heaven. I want to believe that he believed in God. I want him to have been saved. Because of his music and his presence and light in our world, I came to care about him.
And, this leads me back to our true purpose here—to lead people to the Lord, so that they may be saved.
I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of people in my life that I love and care about, yet I am not sure if they are saved. It is something that I need to start talking to them about. And, it is something that can’t wait any longer. The time is now.
How about you? Are there people in your life that you are worried about? Share with them the story of Jesus. Tell them about God and how much He loves us. The time is now. Share your journey. Share your experience with God.
As for David Bowie, I come across an Instagram post from his beautiful wife, Iman. In this post Iman says, “The struggle is real, but so is God.” In keeping with my positive outlook on life for 2016, I am choosing to believe that this post is pointing towards God and good, loves and light.
In the comments section of the online post of Anthony DeCurtis’ interview, someone going by HeLives posted, “I believe since David had so much time by the Grace of our Great God, to 'ponder' Him, that he very much did. As one would expect anyone dying to do. Really look at all your 'options' you have considered, or delved into over the years. Who is anyone to say, he didn't cry out to God on his deathbed, at the thought… 'IS HE really Real?' And 'God, if you are, come to me now?' And don't anyone think for a moment, our God of Mercy, did not show David, 'Yes, I AM'.”
I choose to believe as HeLives does. I rather like the idea that David Bowie will be hanging out in heaven when I get there!
I am a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light and any good thing that I come across.