Polly was finding the song more and more interesting because she thought she was beginning to see the connection between the music and the things that were happening. When a line of dark firs sprang up on a ridge about a hundred yards away she felt that they were connected with a series of deep, prolonged notes which the Lion had sung a second before. And when he burst into a rapid series of lighter notes she was not surprised to see primroses suddenly appearing in every direction.Thus, with an unspeakable thrill, she felt quite certain that all the things were coming (as she said) ‘out of the Lion’s head’. When you listened to his song you heard the things he was making up: when you looked around you, you saw them.
– C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, Chapter 9
Music is a beautiful gift, and one of the great joys of Christmas is the music it brings. But Christmas songs play in shopping centres from November. By the time December 25 comes around many of us are ready to destroy all recordings of all Christmas music for all time. How do we celebrate the good news of Christmas through carols and music when we already tired of listening to them before Christmas has even properly begun?
Jane Williams thinks that Christmas music is indispensable at Christmas time – not just because of the songs themselves but because music, singing and dancing are important ways of worshipping the God who created us. She picks up on C.S. Lewis’ story of Aslan creating the world through song, and argues that deep down Christmas music reminds us of God’s amazing creative and redemptive work in the world:
The world is created in joyful melody, and at Christmas joyful melody celebrates God’s coming to restore the world to its proper song. It is as if, somewhere underneath all the noise and bustle and dissonance of the world we know and live in, there is a fresher, clearer world, where the angels are singing. At Christmas that original world comes closer to the surface, and we can begin to hear the singing again and feel our feet begin to join in the dance.
– Jane Williams, Approaching Christmas
Advertisers and marketers do their best to drag our Christmas songs, our gospel songs, down into the dissonance, but that is not where they belong. These songs about the incarnation shout joyful news about the grace of the living God, they belong front and centre in the Christmas season.
The Christmas Project has compiled a collection of different Christmas songs and carols to help you worship through singing and dancing this season. There are old favourites arranged fresh to help you hear familiar songs with new ears. There are new songs about God coming to dwell among us that you may not have heard before. There are even old school songs in old school arrangements for those of us who could listen to Christmas carols all year round without complaining.
We hope your home experiences lots of singing and dancing this Christmas.
Branches: Songs for Christmas
Evan Wickham: Christmas Music Vol.1
Garage Hymnal: Lowly
Handel: The Messiah
J.S. Bach: The Christmas Oratorio
Nat King Cole: The Magic of Christmas
Norah Jones: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
King’s College Choir: Nunc Dimittis (The Song of Simeon)
Page CXVI: Advent to Christmas
Peter Combe: Christmas Album
Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas
Sufjan Stevens: Silver and Gold
The Oh Hellos: Family Christmas Album
Tim and Abby: Son of God