I mentioned last week that beginning this weekend I would be posting a series of three blog articles of my Christmas “top” lists. I’ll list my favorite Christmas albums, reads, and foods. This post is all about music! Whether you only like Christmas songs for about forty-eight hours or listen to Christmas music all year long, here are my top recommended Christmas albums to help you celebrate the season!
Just remember a few things. First, this is giving you a little picture into mine and my wife’s mind and interests. Second, I’m not going to rate the top Christmas songs or best versions of a Christmas carols. All this post gives are the top albums that I love to listen to during the weeks leading up to Christmas (and that Amy listens to even in June and July)! Finally, all of these albums are from artists and bands that are classified as “Christian.” There are some really great Christmas albums by non-Christian bands (some of whom may or may not have Christians who make up these bands!) and artists. Amy really loves Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night and no matter how hard we try no one is able to escape the Christmas sounds of Mariah Carey. Still, these recommendations are all from Christian artists.
Merry Christmas caroling!
1. Joy: An Irish Christmas by Keith and Kristyn Getty. The Gettys are at the forefront of the modern hymn movement and their songs (like “In Christ Alone”) are sung weekly in churches all over the world. This album is a great mix of classic Christmas hymns redone along with a few new Christmas hymns that are great for personal and corporate worship.
2. Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship by Chris Tomlin (and special guests). This album combines the worship music of Chris Tomlin with the message of Christmas. It’s on almost constant replay around our house!
3. Let it Snow, Baby. Let it Reindeer! by Relient K. This is by far my favorite Christian Rock Christmas album, and we play it at our house year round. It’s great for music lovers who may like the album Christmas With Weezer but who want to hear an actual Christian band celebrating the holidays. It has great rock versions of classics as well as original Christmas songs like Amy’s favorite “I Celebrate the Day” with lyrics that say “And I celebrate the day / that you were born to die / So I could one day pray to you to save my life,” and one of my favorites titled “Santa Claus is Thumbin’ to Town” that tells us of an unfortunate Christmas Eve when “very much to his disliking / Santa spent all night hitchhiking / with a sign that read ‘Ho Ho, Slow Down / Santa Claus is thumbin’ to town!’” You really can’t get better than this!
4. The Christmas Sessions by MercyMe. This is just a great solid Christmas album all the way around. It’s from a great band and it includes fantastic and classic renditions of great Christmas songs, sacred and secular.
5. Christmas: Gaither Vocal Band Style by the Gaither Vocal Band. This one may surprise you! I really love Southern Gospel music (along with everything else!), and for any of you who prefer this style of music, this is a great Christmas album. My favorites are by far their version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and the great modern song “My Heart Would Be Your Bethlehem.”
6. Joy, Joy by David Phelps. This one will also appeal to Southern Gospel lovers (as David Phelps has been the longtime tenor for the Gaither Vocal Band) although it does have a more contemporary sound. David Phelps has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard, and his rendition of “O, Holy Night” is by far my favorite of that song!
7. The Living Room Sessions: Christmas by Chris Rice. One of my favorite Christmas memories is standing around the piano in my grandparents’ house in East Fork, MS on Christmas Day night and singing Christmas carols as my Uncle John played the piano. This all instrumental album gives me a little taste of that precious memory. Chris Rice sat down in his living room at an upright piano and recorded himself playing traditional Christmas carols. This album is the result.
8. Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ by Andrew Peterson. This is a modern album version of a Christmas cantata, and it’s really meant to be listened to from the beginning to the end as Andrew Peterson (and special guests) retell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ!
9. Christmas (From the Realms of Glory) by Bebo Norman. The town of Bethlehem lies in the shadow of Golgotha. The cradle sits at the foot of the cross, and you can’t go through Christmas without passing by Calvary. Bebo Norman reminds us of this truth in this great album with songs like “Born to Die.”
10. Oh for Joy by the David Crowder* Band. I love David Crowder’s music, and I loved the David Crowder band, even when some of their concept albums were a bit long and a little strange for my tastes! This album is great, and it combines everything I love about David Crowder with Christmas. What do you get when you combine the bearded David Crowder with the holiday season? A beautiful collision.
These are some of the albums that are playing at the Campbell house this Christmas! What are some of your most loved Christmas songs and albums? In the comments section below, feel free to share your favorites and suggestions!