Thursday (December 2, 2021)

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68-69)

What’s your favorite Christmas song? There are so many to choose from. The variety is not just from the sheer quantity of different songs, of which there are an abundance. If you also factor in different artists’ or groups’ very own renditions of each Christmas song or hymn there are many more. Are there thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds, millions? Secular, sacred, ancient, modern, Gregorian chant, rock and roll, the list goes on and on.  

I’m not sure if I have a favorite song, but I have two favorite Christmas albums. They are quite different from one another, but for me they capture the best parts of old and new. They are the classical “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” led by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the indie rock album “Songs for Christmas” by Sufjan Stevens. My personal soundtrack this year at home, in the car, or on a run is these two albums alternating back and forth.

And yet, even with their ubiquity in my life, there is a set of Christmas songs, an album if you will, that sits closer to my heart. They are the Christmas Hymns that are in the Bible. That’s right, the first Christmas songs are all found in the first couple chapters of the Gospel of Luke. They are the Magnificat, the song Mary sings upon her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the Benedictus, Zechariah’s song when he names his son John, and the Gloria, the song the Angels sing when they alight upon the manger below them on Christmas Eve. 

In the midst of all of our Christmas listening, among all of our favorite songs, might I suggest that we also rotate these into our playlist as well. And for that you don’t need speakers or earphones, but to find them anew in Holy Scripture.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, this time of year our hearts long to burst forth in song. May we forever give praise and thanksgiving to you in the music we make and the music that makes us. Amen

Peace in Christ,

Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller