Part 1 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things


I really wanted a better title than that, but such is life.  Hopefully the creativity will flow for the posts themselves!

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I have a way of abandoning blog post series.  So if this turns out to be a 12 part or 15 part series instead of 25, please forgive me.  25 is such a Christmas-y number.

I thought today I'd start out with something relatively simple, but that gets me in the Christmas mood quick and fast. The answer was obvious: Christmas hymns!

I say hymns because I like to categorize Christmas music.  There's classic kitschy Christmas music, calming instrumental Christmas music, contemporary/modern Christmas music, and then there's Christmas hymns.  Christmas hymns are religious, but also feel ancient.  Listening to Christmas hymns gives me a deeper perspective of how Christmas has been celebrated through the centuries, the Church's traditions of Advent, and makes me feel small--in a good way--like sitting in a huge cathedral.  I see my place in a long line of Christians, and can feel the tininess of my place among them.

I don't know exactly where I heard most of these songs for the first time.  It could have been from a concert by my church's Chancel Choir or my family's vast collection of Christmas CD's.

I don't expect you to watch or listen to all of these, especially if you're already well aware of their existence.  I'll just be happy to have this post to listen to this season!

Good King Wenceslas

For ages I thought the lyric was 'Good King Wences last looked out, on the feast of Stephen...'  Listen to the Horrible Histories version of the hymn for a truth bomb.  The version I listen to most is by Singers Unlimited, but this York Minster choir is great!

While By My Sheep

I liked this one as a kid because it reminded me of "Shout!" by the Isley Brothers with the quiet then the loud lyrics.  "How great my joy (great my joy). JOY JOY JOY! (Joy joy joy)."

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks at Night

Another shepherd hymn.  Good stuff.

Good Christian Men Rejoice

And ladies too!  Woooo!  The Robert Shaw Chorale is also the version on my iPod and the opening is so fucking epic.  Love it.

Coventry Carol

Haunting as hell.  LOVE IT.  Also listen to the John Denver version.

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella 

Weird title.  Great song.

Still, Still, Still

Gorgeous lullaby.

Children Go Where I Send Thee

Is this is even a legit Christmas song?  It is to me.  And was it not even written all that long ago?  No matter. I also might need to do a whole post on this Peter, Paul & Mary Holiday Celebration.  A family tradition of ours.

Sing We Now of Christmas

Oh man, this one makes my hair stand on end.  So creepy and beautiful.

Ok.  Last one!

Of the Father's Love Begotten

Such a pretty tune.  He is Alpha and Omega...

There's plenty of others I could put here.  "For Unto Us a Child is Born."  "Ding Dong Merrily on High."  "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming."  "Carol of the Bells."  So many good ones that give me chills!

What are some of your favorite ancient-feeling Christmas hymns?

(Photo credit)


Linda said...

I always love "Il est né le divin enfant" sung in its original French, because it was a particular favorite of my grandmother Yvonne's.

Linda said...

Oh holy crap! I just discovered an Annie Lenox cover of this song.

I was cringing for the first 40 seconds,but then she burst out properly. Why do I not own this album? Must remedy!

Maryann said...

YES! I know this song, I've definitely heard it before. It's lovely! And I need to buy Annie Lennox's album too!