Top 5 Christmas Songs

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Inkspots, Musings
Tags: , , , , ,

Top 5 Christmas Songs.

I started hearing them in the car on the way to work, and gave a mental groan. I like Christmas songs,  but I also work in retail so I hear them all day long from the middle of November to the end of December.  There are some tunes  I won’t get tired of hearing,  no matter how long they are on the radio or playing over head in the store.  My top 5  are :

Hark The Herald Angels Sing:   I love this one because when it’s sung correctly, the singer’s voices sound as a trumpet with their reverberations. The  story it tells Hark the Herald Angels Sing/ Glory To the Newborn King/  Peace on Earth/ and Mercy Mild/God and Sinners Reconciled/ Joyful all Ye Nations Rise/ Join the Triumph of the Skies/ With Angelic Host Proclaim/ Christ is Born in Bethlehem is also one of my favorites. My heart never fails to leap when I hear that.  There’s such a breathless expectation, and such wonderful news to share contained in this  carol.

We Three Kings or Quest of the MagiThis is a favorite because of the music. The slow, deliberate pace makes me think always of the ships of the desert sliding from side to side over a sea of white sand, with a silver star overhead to light the way.  Each Magi sings too, sharing in the lyrics  of the song,  what they’re bringing and  telling why they are bringing that to the little One.  It’s a somber song laden with word pictures, and referencing another part of the  Nativity story, the Star.

Birthday of the King:  I love this one, because it was introduced to me by my Dad’s mother, MomMom.  She recorded it onto a cassette tape for me, in the 1980’s from  a record she had from her girlhood.  Her father would play it for her Christmas morning as she came down the stairs. When I found out, I used to crouch at the foot of the stairs in our house  with my trusty Fisher Price (TM) tape recorder on Christmas Morning,  and play it for her again as she walked down the stairs.  It always made her laugh through her tears, all those triggered memories. And I’d get a big hug and a “Merry Christmas” from her. It was our special tradition.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This is a favorite because of the military sound of the music and the rhythm of the words. I love the bold stepping sound of the song. While the meaning of the first line of  it has been debated back and forth for years,  the clearest  understanding in my mind is “God make you merry, Gentlemen”  (merry meaning not mighty rather  to gladden the heart and be boisterous). What could make a heart gladder than remembering the truth contained in the rest of the song?

For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan’s power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.

Silent Night:   I love this carol because of its ethereal, lullaby quality.  It’s one of the last songs that we would sing at the Christmas Eve candlelight service when I was growing up. It always started at 11:00 and went until just after Midnight so that when we sang this song, it really was very early Christmas Morning.

I remember bundling up in the narthex of the church, shivering into my coat, and walking over the cold pavement in church shoes that pinched the sides of my feet slightly (they always did that)  to the van. I was so tired, and as I watched my breath make dragon-curls in the dark morning I would continue to sing  the song. Everyone and everything seemed to be asleep. Snow or frost would glitter brittle bright under the church parking lot lights, and there would be a wonderful flipping in my stomach as I realized it wasn’t quite time for presents yet. That sleepy giddiness is forever linked in my memory with Silent Night, and is one of my fondest childhood memories.

What five Christmas Carols top your list?  Why?  Tell me in the comments below, or reblog this post. 

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Comments
  1. Lisa Suit says:

    Silent Night-because of the same reasons you posted (although our Christmas Eve services weren’t ever quite that late 🙂 )

    O Holy Night-I just love the majesty and reverence!

    Joy Joy by David Phelps-You introduced me to this song when I worked at His Way, and it has been one of my favorites ever since. I love the lines: Then God called to Gabriel with gladness and tears/play the trumpets, the horns, and the strings/ tell the shepherds and wise men and all who will hear/ command all of the angels to sing/ fill the sky with your voices and sing!

    One Wintry Night by David Phelps-I just love most of his Christmas music, but this one is another favorite: Don’t you know the angels were breathless/as He stepped down off His throne/into the cosmos His own hands had made/Don’t you know the darkness protested/as its reign was overthrown/and victory was declared with Love’s display

    And because I had a very late night I can only think of four right now 🙂 But I wanted to comment anyway!

  2. Kathy Black says:

    Funny, those are my favorites too. And hearing your associated memories with them make me smile and I associate them with candlelight Christmas concerts too. And I know I should like Silent Night the best; but the truth is, I like Joy to the World and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gee says:

    I heard “Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes–I think it may have been in the remake of “The Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” starring Donald Sutherland.” On such an instrument, the song sounded much different and actually a bit eerie. It was still amazxing, though. I think “Silent Night” is a favorite among many, as it is for me. I also enjoy “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and Handel’s “Messiah,” among others, although, of course “The Messiah” is not a hymn, but an oratorio.

  4. Gee says:

    I probably don’t have any favorites among the new songs, as I don’t listen to much of the new stuff. Most of my CDs are “oldies but goodies” from the sixties–Doors, Hendrix, Joplin, Mothers of Invention, Cream, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane (now Starship), Beatles, etc. However, I do enjoy the Sundays, the Corrs, and the Cranberries (although they are secular groups). Sometimes, I listen to hymns by Mannheim Steamroller. Nothing against the new sounds, just stuck in the sixties. LOL

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