One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. I love Christmas music. As you shop, the brightness of Christmas music can calm your frazzled nerves, give you that last push to finish, or just make you smile. I love to bake for Christmas with Christmas music in the background.
I have many favorite Christmas songs. One of my favorite Christmas present as a child was a record player – yes, a record play – I am that old. With it I received a variety of 45’s to spin. I listened to Frosty the Snowman, probably to the frustration of my parents, over and over and over and over again. It’s hard to rank Christmas songs, but I do have a ranking. On one side of one of those 45’s was the song Good King Wenceslas. I wore that out too. While you rarely hear it, and almost no one knows it, it is still my number one favorite in English. You can sing along here.
My number one favorite all time forever Christmas Carol is a Norwegian one. I hear it and I melt. I think of snow and Brooklyn. I think of Jul Tree Fests. On a cold evening in January, holding my dad's hand, I would dress in festive clothing and crunch through the snow to a church. I remember most the Salvation Army – in a great room with a huge decorated Christmas tree we’d take our little songbooks with the Norwegian flag and sing as we circled the tree holding hands.
A few years ago, someone gave me a copy of a Norwegian Christmas recording. It was Sissel’s Glade Jul. On the recording was Jeg Er Så Glad Hver Julekveld. My brain had forgotten this most beautiful of Christmas hymns. My heart had not. I cried when I heard it again. Now I make sure I play it often during the Christmas season. You can listen to Sissel sing it here. The lyrics in English are here (scroll down).
When asked, what’s your favorite Christmas Carol, as does happen this time of the year, I never answer with either of the above favorites. While they are my top choices, most people find them obscure and just glaze over at my answer. I have another favorite. It’s number three on my list and most appropriate for this week. It’s JOY TOTHE WORLD! Even mentioning it’s title makes my heart want to burst into song – I love the triumphant announcement of this Carol.
It was written by Sir Isaac Watts and is based on Psalm 98. Interestingly, and actually quite appropriate for the Advent season (that time of waiting and reflection on the return of our Lord) this song is about the triumphal return of Christ to this earth. It’s a celebration song of the coming return of our King.
Joy – Joy to the World – the Lord IS come…
With joy we can declare the mystery of our faith –
Christ has died
Christ has risen,
Christ will come again.
What a reason for Joy! What reason to lift our voices and announce, Joy has come.
Weekly Advent Bible Reading Plan: