For unto you is born this day . . . a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
~ Luke 2:11
For me, Christmas is 100% about Christ. Itâs in the name. And you canât have Christmas without the joy of music. As a teen, I dreamed of one day making it big as a singer. That did not happen, but my love for music and singing has not changed. Narrowing down only twelve Christmas songs was quite difficult, as I could sing Christmas songs for hours, until I go hoarse, but the following twelve songs reflect my most favorite and the reasons why. And the order has no bearing on which is the top, as that can change on any given day.
1. Away in a Manger
This was one of the first Christmas songs I remember learning as a child and I remember lovingly swaddling my own baby doll as was the Christ child. Our Lord and Savior came to this earth in the humblest of circumstances, as the song states ââ¦no crib for a bed,â and it is this reason I place this one first on the list.
2. The First NoelChristâs birth.
Noel is an Old French word meaning Christmas. It can also refer to a carol or hymn sung in honor of The First Noel sings of the shepherd, also in humble circumstances, that recognized right away the magnificent meaning of the star â..Shining in the East beyond them far.â
3. What Child is This?
Set to the familiar tune of Greensleeves, this is one I sing and hum throughout the year. I recently was blessed to sing this for members of my church Sunday, the 14th with a good friend of mine. I sang the melody, the soprano part while she sang the alto. The arrangement was slightly different than standard, and it was a great joy to sing it and feel the spirit deep in my heart. You can listen to and download this version for yourself by following this link.
4. Oh, Come All Ye Faithful
Meant to be sung majestically and joyfully, this hymn is in reference to verses in Luke chapter 2. In verse 9 and 10 it says, âAnd, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them. . . and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.â And those tidings were the birth of Christ, an event people had been awaiting for some time. I can only imagine the joy of being a part of that, and I am grateful I have the light of Christ in my life today.
5. Joy to the World
One of the 53 arias in Handelâs Messiah, which he wrote in only 24 days, this is one sung annually in home and church, and one I look forward to each year.
6. Handelâs Dream
This is a beautifully arranged piece, composed by Michael Mclean, that tells a poignant fictional story of Handel. It is a dream, and perhaps Handel had such a dream as his inspiration for the Messiah. It is partly sang and partly narrated. Young Handel is auditioning for the choir of angels to sing at Christâs birth. But he doesnât make it. Told he has a different voice, one that will be brought to the world in his own time, and that more orchestras and choirs than he can now imagine will be giving voice to his feelings leaves me with tears in my eyes every time I listen to it. One you must hear, if you havenât already. And if you have, give it a listen again.
7. Were You There?
Composed by Natalie Sleeth, this is a treasured song. I have sang this many times for others since I was a teenager and played my flute as well. With many thought provoking questions throughout. Were you there on that first Christmas night? Were you there when the wonder foretold came to earth? Did you hear how the choirs of angels sang? Did you see how they bowed? Did you know if was Godâs own son, the salvation of the world begun? Did you know it was love that was sent from above to the earth? These are but a few of the glad, powerful messages in this song. To learn more about this great American composer, follow this link.
8. Jingle Bells & 9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
You have to have the classics. And though the focal point of these songs is not the Savior, they are about Santa Claus and what a great example of goodness was Saint Nicholas. If we all spread the goodness and cheer, the true spirit of Christmas, like St. Nick does, the world would be a fantastically better place to be. I believe in Santa Claus. In the goodness and cheer and love and service of his name.
10. Angels We Have Heard on High
Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Latin for âglory to God in the highest,â in this French carol, the single word âGloriaâ is carried through four full measures, for a total count of sixteen beats, with the rest less than half that. Beautifully arranged and fun to sing the ups and downs of the Gloria, is why this is on my top 12 most loved Christmas songs.
11. It Could Happen Again
Part of Colin Rayeâs Christmas CD The Gift, this song has touch me from the first time I listened to it. Even during the devastation of war, this is a retelling of the well known story during WWI when opposing sides came together to celebrate Christmas, only returning to fight against each other after they were ordered to. This portrays the true meaning of Christ-like love, that men could put up their arms, share what little they had, sing Christmas carols and bring the spirit to an otherwise bleak time. Find the CD here. This CD also happens to be the giveaway item for today. Donât forget to enter below.
12. O Holy Night
Many, many versions of this song are out there. Rearrangements, numerous singers, wonderful song. Cantique De Noel, or as we know it O Holy Night, was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 and later the words were added, written by Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant and poet who was also a professed atheist. Over 150 years later this song is still bringing joy to those who know Christ.
As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always.
~Thomas S. Monson
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. May we remember to keep Christ the center of our Christmas celebrations and try to bring the feelings and actions surrounding Christmas throughout the year.
Written by Stephanie N. Pitman
Author of Honorable Disgrace due out Feb 2, 2015
Available for pre-order http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QPCYIIC
Every year my house as a kid was visited by elves. The sneaky Santa helpers would leave tokens, gifts, candies, and oral hygiene treasures in our homemade stockings, the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
The highlight of any cold December morning would be to reach my grubby little hands into my stocking and pull out the delivered bounty.
One gift per day would be the norm. However, sometimes the elves would belost in a blizzard, slept-in, or just down right forgetful and our stockings would be bare. This tragic occurrence would be promptly echoed in the house, as all five of us kids would voice our let down to our loving parents. Double gifts would find their way into our empty stockings the next day, a king’s loot, and joy would be established once more.
This tradition has remained forever endeared in my heart. When first married, I tried to surprise my husband with such elfish tokens. Jerky, chips, soda, all made their loving way into his stocking, mine, however, remained bare. Sadness, and self-present-giving soon replaced tradition. Bahumbug!
With luck and joyous renew, the arrival of my first born, Christian, the elves have found their way through the blizzard and gifts will be given once more. Hazaah!
I am excited to start this tradition with my babe, for many Christmas’ to come. Merry Christmas!
Candace's humorous short story, Train Station: 3:00 p.m. can be found in the Beginnings anthology.
âOn the first day of Christmas my true love gave to meâ¦â
How I loved singing âThe Twelve Days of Christmasâ song in elementary school chorus and high school glee club. For Creative Prose Publishingâs special event celebrating The Twelve Days with their authors, I wonât have to sing so I decided on something better. I have the tenth day which is 10 Lords a Leaping and Iâm going to share my Top 10 Christmas movies. Here they are and I hope youâll share your favorites as well.
Laurieâs Top 10 Christmas Movies
Every year my family and I watch these classics and they never get old. From finding the right love, to simply believing in something (like magic or the power of love) or someone (like Santa), these titles truly highlight something special about the holiday season.
10. TIE: While You Were Sleeping, Love Actually and Bridget Jonesâs Diary
Sorry, but I couldnât choose between these three zany holiday love stories. Who can escape the charm of Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping? Just because we may 'crush' on someone, doesn't mean that's 'the right one' for us. By the time Lucy shows Jack that snow globe, Iâm tearing up. As for Love Actually, whatâs not to love about this movie? Thereâs the stellar cast with the wide variety of love stories stemming from young to old, each sharing the backdrop of the holiday season. And we canât forget the music! I love to watch Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth in Bridget Jonesâs Diary. So comical with sprinkles of truth, these two leads showcase the best of 'opposites attract'. That ending scene with a scantily clad Bridget with Mr. Darcy on the sidewalk in the snow is hysterical and yet endearing, just like these three movies.
9. National Lampoonâs Christmas Vacation
Each holiday season I play this DVD and giggle like crazy at the hilarious antics of the Griswold family. Who can forget the squirrel in the Christmas tree? Clark trying to put lights on the outside of his house? The holiday meal? The sewer scene? The list goes on and onâ¦.
8. A Christmas Carol (Alastair Sim, 1951)
The version of this holiday classic I adore features Alastair Sim as Scrooge. In glorious black and white, Sim truly embodies everything 'Scrooge' from his glare to his biting voice, even down to the way he walks. When he's a changed man, he's a delight to behold. The lack of color helps dramatize the scenes even more. The holidays are not complete without one viewing of this classic.
7. The Dead
Based on my favorite James Joyce short story, this movie directed by the late great John Huston, is film-making brilliance. Married couple Gabriel and Gretta attend Christmas dinner and enjoy the company of friends and family. With lively conversation, dancing, singing and music, we are privy to how music invokes different emotions in each person, particularly in Gretta as she reminisces about her first love. Anjelica Huston steals the film with her revealing speech which captures my heart every single time.
6. PrancerThere's a special place in my heart for Prancer. Some may find this movie corny but I donât care, I love it. When twelve year old Jessica thinks the injured reindeer she found belongs to Santa, no one believes her. Sheâs just a kid, right, but this determined girl will show the non-believers how wrong they are. With each repeated viewing, Iâm always drawn in by her story and her voice and by the end I'm tearing up as that reindeer disappears off that cliff. Talk about magic.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Whatâs this you say? I say this movie is a unique tale about the unforgettable Jack Skellington and friends all done up in typical eerie cool Tim Burton style. Funny, bewildering, with songs to hum along to, who would think something so ghoulishly creepy could be so much fun to watch in December? Me!
4. The Polar Express
While weâre on the subject of âbelievingâ, what better movie encompasses kids growing older and not having faith in Santa any more than The Polar Express? Based on Chris Van Allsburg's beautiful picture book, director Robert Zemekis (who also wrote the screenplay) transfers the magic of the story into an animated wonder. A nameless young boy gets to go on an adventure (on a wonderful train with Tom Hanks as a cool conductor) which helps him believe once again in Christmas.
3. The Santa Clause trilogy
I never thought Tim Allen--the droll tool guy from the hit comedy TV show Home Improvement--could ever make me believe in his portrayal as a divorced dad who takes over as Santa Clause. He did. The first movie was humorous, engaging and totally captivating. The first film is a classic, making this trio a wonderful series to watch with the family.
2. TIE: A Christmas Story & A Miracle on 34th Street (1947, b&w)
It's a battle of the kids! Ralphie and Susan rule these enchanting family gems. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a BB gun. But he'll shoot his eye out! All Susan wants is a family. Stern mom Kate is set in her chilly, independent ways. Each story captures the magic of the holidays through the eyes of a child. Both are filled with poignant moments, lots of humor, and lovable kids.
1. Itâs A Wonderful Life
I never tire of watching this film in its original black and white splendor (keep that creepy colorized version away from me). When James Stewart and Donna Reed are on screen, I canât look anywhere else. "Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight..." Director Frank Capra created a true holiday classic with this endearing film. For me, each Christmas isnât complete without one or two viewings. âMerry Christmas Bedford Falls!â George Bailey has become synonymous with everything good about Christmas and Clarence the angel, well, he gives the movie tremendous heart and leaves a bell as his calling card.
They may not be movies, but these television specials will forever hold their own special places in my heart and in the hearts of many.
About the author:
Laurie Treacy is a fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary YA and NA romance writer. A graduate of Marist College, she lives in New York's picturesque Hudson Valley with her husband, three children, and various pets. When not writing or book blogging, sheâs a proud Whovian, loves reading, photographing abandoned places, frozen Goobers, and watching anime. A member of the SCBWI and RWA, Laurie can be found at local writer's events and online at www.laurietreacy.com and www.readergirlsblog.com.
Find Laurie here: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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ELEMENTAL PRINCESS by M.M. Roethig
Kaesen, an elemental princess, lives on a distant star called Maia. She loves Alwen, but as her sworn protector they're forbidden to be together. Promised to a cruel man, Kaesen will do whatever is necessary to change the stars and be allowed to love her Alwen.
TRAIN STATION: 3:00 P.M. by Candace Gleave
A ball of gold the size of a cow's eyeball and a man worth his weight in fortune bring together a motley group of criminals, all who will do anything and everything to obtain both treasures.
Pick up Beginnings here:
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