Christmas at our house.

I was brave and did the Christmas CD Circle this year (has it been done before? I usually avoid CD circles because I don’t really think of myself as a music person). Since I wrote out all the reasons why I picked the songs, I thought I’d post it here instead of it being lost forever.

These are songs that Mike and I listen to each year at Christmas, and it’s a good sampling of what you would hear if you were at our house this time of year.

1. “The Irrational Season” by Carolyn Arends. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Carolyn Arends. I like some of her music, but she can be cheesy. However, the lyrics of this song are from my favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle. “This is the irrational season / When love blooms bright and wild / If Mary had been filled with reason / There’d have been no room for the child.” I think that sums up the miracle of the incarnation in a wonderful way.

2. “Silent Night/On Christmas Night All Christians Sing” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. This is from an album called The Beauty of Christmas, which is out of print, but which is our favorite favorite favorite Christmas CD. Mike bought it the first Christmas we were together, and every year we put it on, turn on the Christmas tree, and turn off all the lights in the house. It’s one of our traditions, to listen to it by the lights of the tree. I put a few songs from this CD on here, so you could get an idea of what it sounds like, since just one song doesn’t give you a good representation. Its whole is better than the sum of its parts.

3. “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Mandy Ihrig. This is from a Christmas album called Your King Has Come that several “Square Peg” artists contributed to, including Derek and Sandra, Jill Phillips, and Katy Bowser. This is Mike’s favorite song off the CD, and it’s one of my favorite versions of this song.

4. “Miriam” by Pierce Pettis. Pierce Pettis sang this at Andrew Peterson’s show a few years ago. It’s been a staple of our Christmas mix ever since.

5. “Child of Wonder” by Sara Groves. This (like the songs from The Beauty of Christmas) is a leftover from when Mike used to work for a Christian bookstore. This came from a CD of Christmas songs all sung by women. As a woman, I think about Mary a lot this time of year, and what she went through, and I like this song because it’s from her perspective.

6. “Sing We Now of Christmas” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. This is another from The Beauty of Christmas.

7. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Coldplay. I have to say that this is not one of my favorite Christmas songs, but I do like this version of it. Mike claims it’s the best version of this song EVER. He . . . really likes Chris Martin.

8. “Joy to the World” by Eef Barzelay. On his CD Bitter Honey, Eef closed with this song. Mike and I agreed that it was definitely going on our Christmas mix this year. I am putting it on this mix in an effort to spread the Eef love. How can you not love someone named Eef?

9. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Death Cab for Cutie. This is another song where . . . I’m not sure I like the song, but I do like this version a lot. The whole Death Cab sound goes well on this song.

10. “For Unto Us a Child is Born” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. Another song from The Beauty of Christmas.

11. “Silent Night” by Martha’s Trouble. Martha’s Trouble is a band that some of our friends like a lot, and we went to a concert they put on a few years ago around Christmastime. We have one of their regular CDs and their Christmas CD. Their version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” is also very good.

12. “Away in a Manger” by Buddy and Julie Miller. What I’d really like is a version of Buddy and Julie singing “Manger Throne” without Third Day anywhere near the song, but this is what we have instead, and it’ll have to suffice.

13. “Babe in the Straw” by Leigh Nash. Another leftover from the Christian bookstore days. I believe this was on the same CD as the Sara Groves song. I learned as I was putting it on here that Caedmon’s also did it a few years after that on the City on a Hill Christmas CD. I humbly offer my opinion that this one is miles better than that one.

14. “The Holly and the Ivy” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. Another song from The Beauty of Christmas.

15. “Christmas Day” by Dido. This is kind of a sad song. But we had it on our mix, and I always sing along with it, so I decided to include it despite that.

16. “Christmas for Cowboys” by Jars of Clay. This is a new one for us this year. We have no idea where it came from. (I mean, we know it’s a cover, but it seems strange for Jars of Clay.)

17. “River” by Sarah McLachlan. I like Joni Mitchell (blame it on You’ve Got Mail), and I enjoy Sarah McLachlan’s cover of this song. Even though it’s another sad song.

18. “What Child is This?” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. From The Beauty of Christmas.

19. “O Holy Night” by Tracy Chapman. When we first got together, Mike had a CD that had this song on it, so it’s always been part of our Christmas music. I like how mellow this version is.

20. “Heaven’s Got a Baby” by Sarah Masen. Another Christian bookstore leftover. This was on a mix that was put out that wasn’t very good, but I really like Sarah Masen, and I think this song is fun. I like how the song is set against the idea of a Christmas pageant.

21. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by BNL and Sarah McLachlan. Look, I know this song has been overplayed. But it’s part of our Christmas, so I put it on here anyway. I remember driving around and listening to the radio, hoping it would come on. (This was back before you could find everything on the internets.) I still love the combination of those two songs together.

22. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. From The Beauty of Christmas.

23. “One More Sleep” by Kermit the Frog. A Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas movie. Period. It’s not Christmas without it, and it’s not Christmas unless I get to hear the songs. This one’s probably the best.

24. “The Meaning of Christmas” by Charlie Brown and Linus. Mike got this clip a few years ago. I love it. “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights, please.”

25. “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi. Has to come after “The Meaning of Christmas.” What can I say?

26. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Chris Rice. The other song I associate with the Charlie Brown Christmas Special is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” So I thought I’d put this nice instrumental version to kind of close out the “Charlie Brown” section of this CD.

27. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by The London Festival Orchestra and The Ambrosian Singers. To close out the CD, one last song from The Beauty of Christmas.

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