Hey, everybody! I feel like I've been away FOREVER. But, hey! I'm back, and I will be again soon with a huge annual wrapup post of my favorite things from this year in several categories. Be on the lookout for that!
It's so beautiful here today. We got about six inches of snow, and I'm in LOVE with snow again. I'd share a picture with y'all, but...unfortunately, I didn't get any while there was still light out, and I'm now writing this at 5:30 in the evening, while it's dark like midnight out there. :(
I also finished school for the semester! And got A's in just about everything!
Have a playlist--because today's post is part of an epic link-up for Christmas with Faith Potts of Stories by Firefly! Today I'll be sharing with you a bunch of my favorite Christmas carols and going super in-depth as to why I like them. Ready? Good, because here we go.
Carol of the Bells
A brand new Christmas album from my favorite artist????!!! I'll take it! I love Lindsey Stirling so much, and this album has just the right blend of nostalgia and new material, with songs ranging from the breathtaking "Silent Night" (finally, a version that sounds fresh and exciting!) to the funny "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", to the brand-new breakout hit "Christmas C'mon." My personal favorite on this album, however, has got to be "Carol of the Bells." Always one of my favorite Christmas carols, to see one of my favorite musicians take it on and come up with such a beautiful rendition is amazing.
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Only this version, mind you!
Most renditions of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" are so sappy and ridiculous...I can't stand hearing that one come in in the grocery store. I'll often run to get away from it (we're being honest here...XD) But this version, by Josh Groban, and I have a love-hate relationship. Very love-hate.
See, normally "I'll Be Home for Christmas" sounds like it's just somebody who's homesick for whatever reason. I don't know. It just never really makes much of an impact on me. But on Noel, Josh Groban dubs over the instrumental sections of the song with the voices of soldiers and their families, calling home on Christmas Day. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Try listening to the voice of a soldier's family member wishing them a happy Christmas without tearing up. You've gotta be made of stone.
The Angel Song
Most of this album is fairly cheesy and feel-good-y, but I absolutely love this song for the depth it offers. It's a beautiful reminder that Christmas is about Jesus and the new life he offers. <3
Behold the Lamb of God
Did any of y'all watch the livestream of this concert last week? If you did, let me know! It was absolutely magical, and they did one of my favorite songs by Andrew Peterson, "Carry the Fire." This album walks the listener through the entire Christmas story, starting with the exodus from Egypt and all the way up through the shepherds to John the Baptist and beyond. It's absolutely beautiful, and I cannot recommend it enough.
What author could make a playlist and not include Trans-Siberian Orchestra on there someplace?? (Kidding. If you don't like them, it's okay.) But this song has an absolutely beautiful story behind it. Turns out, there was a cellist from the Eastern European city of Sarajevo who left home to go be a world-famous musician. (I don't remember his name and don't feel like searching, but if you want to, please, by all means...) When he returned, it was to discover the Bosnian war in full swing. Every night, when bombers passed by overhead, he didn't head for shelter, he went out to stand on the rubble where the fountain had once been and played Christmas carols. It's a gorgeous reminder that in the midst of evil and bloodshed, Jesus' birth is still the focus of December 25. Even in the darkest places, he still shines through.
Some Honorable Mentions
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
The grand finale and my absolute favorite. In November I fell in love with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poetry; it's just so beautiful and heartrending. His epic poem Evangeline is a wonderful classic that everyone should read.
But when his wife died Longfellow wrote a poem, a poem called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Casting Crowns borrowed the words of that poem and set them to music, music that is absolutely perfect. I legit started crying the first time I heard this song. Give it a listen. You won't regret it.
"God is not dead, nor does he sleep!"
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men!
Chat with me, lovelies! What are your favorite Christmas carols? Are you excited for Christmas day? Tell me all the things! I've missed y'all!