The 4th Dave’s Christmas Music List — Part Two: The “Fa-La-La” List!

As I said previously, I felt it was time to update my list of favorite and least-favorite Christmas music. It’s easy enough to pick out the Christmas songs you love to hate–but what about the really good ones? So here’s my top-five current favorites:

Fa-la-la-la-la!  The4thDave’s Current Favorite Christmas Songs!

5) “O Holy Night”

One of my favorite Christmas “hymns.” I remember a few special occasions of singing this song. It just strikes the right chords in my heart. Here’s an instrumental version of the song performed by jazz musicians who survived Katrina, from the TV show “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” I loved this heart-warming scene in this episode, so I’m including the version with dialogue and cut-aways.

4) “You Gotta Get Up” by Rich Mullins

Not enough people know this song, so any chance to introduce someone to a new Rich Mullins song is worth taking. So here you go: the brilliant Rich Mullins, singing about the joy of Christmas morning.

3) “O Come All Ye Faithful” by the Austin Stone

Christmas is a time to worship, so the most worshipful songs are often my favorites. Here’s a great version by the folks at the Austin Stone church.

2) “I Celebrate the Day” by Relient K

The whole Relient K Christmas album (“Let it Snow, Baby, Let it Rein Deer”) is pretty great–a good balance of serious reverence and playful festiveness. It has its emo moments, but on the whole it’s pretty solid, and I listen to it year after year. This track from the album is my favorite of all, and a great reminder of what matters at Christmas. It’s a song sung to the Savior, playing a bit off of the question structure of “Mary Did You Know” but focusing on what the Christmas child actually came to accomplish.

“I celebrate the day / That you were born to die / So I could one day pray for you to save my life / Pray for you to save my life.”

1) “O Come, O Come Immanuel”

(There are lots of good versions out there–but I really am becoming a fan of the Austin Stone’s worship music–so here you go.)

Probably my favorite Christmas song ever. There’s just so much here; most importantly, it captures the urgency of Advent, of humanity itself, as it yearns for redemption. We didn’t just need a new moral code, another prophet, a new flavor of religion. We needed a savior. We needed redemption. We needed to be made new. Jesus did that. He was “God with us.” And He ransomed His people, captive to sin and death. So, rejoice, rejoice. Emmanuel has ransomed us.

Mary, Did You Walk in Winter Birthday Shoes By A Reindeer?

A few weeks ago, I was curious about your most and least favorite Christmas songs/carols, and the results were…let’s say “mixed.”

Your picks for most-loved Christmas songs:

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel (7 votes)
  • O Holy Night (6 votes)
  • a 5-way tie between  I’ll be Home For Christmas, Carol of the Bells, Breath of Heaven, The Christmas Song, and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (2 votes each)
Your picks for most-hated Christmas songs:
  • Springsteen Santa Claus is Coming to Town ” (7 votes)
  • Christmas Shoes (5 votes)
  • (tie) Grandma, Santa Baby, Feliz, Wonderful Christmastime, Happy Birthday Jesus (3 votes each)
What was surprising about the poll was the crossover songs: songs that charted on both the “Fa La La” and “Bah Humbug” lists:
  • Happy Birthday Jesus
  • Mary Did you Know?
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Winter Wonderland
  • The Christmas Song
People’s reactions to Christmas music are interesting to me. Some love getting in the spirit of the season. Others (usually those who work in retail and are subjected to piped-in generic holiday music and evil customer behavior) struggle to enjoy Christmas music. And that makes sense to me.
As for me, I grew up in a house that relished Christmas music. From the moment it started on November 1st on the local FM radio station, Christmas music was non-stop until the lights went out on December 25th, and sometimes a few days later. As a reaction to this (and a symptom of the crippling cynicism I was infected with during my college years), I stopped listening to Christmas music unless I was mocking it. I stated for several years that my favorite Christmas carol was “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch.” (Though, to be fair, this version is pretty fun.)
Thankfully, I grew out of my college side-eye days, and have begun to enjoy Christmas music again…mostly. There are exceptions. (We’ll get to those tomorrow.) But on the whole, I do enjoy Christmas music, I’m thankful for it, and I say God bless it.
So, on this eve of the blessed day, I say to you, Merry Christmas, readers. Take some time to enjoy some great Christmas music and meditate on the baby in the manger, born to be the Savior on the Cross, who stands now as the Risen Lord and Returning King.
I’ll leave you with a song that is not often played as a Christmas carol, but one that I think keeps our focus on the Person who matters.
God bless you all.