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Personal Favorite Christmas Songs

Nick Alexander here...

When I created this list, I was unaware of the passing of Dan Fogelberg, earlier that day. While I didn't follow his secular work (not that I dislike it... I just never got around to listening to his box-set), I personally believe that his Christmas album is one for the ages. Every song is an original, and the lyrics focus strongly on the story of the birth of the Christ-child. I cannot recommend his album highly enough.

Granted, this list cannot be complete without at least one novelty song. If you haven't heard Steve Taylor's take on Winter Wonderland, you will not soon forget it. (Whether you'll like it or not, that is another question entirely).

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The apparitions of Mary to Juan Diego at Guadalupe, Mexico, is one of the most endearing, but powerful anecdotes that demonstrate God's tangible love for us. Today is the feast day of Our Lady at Guadalupe. To celebrate, I have highlighted two noteworthy recordings:

Mark Mallett created an exceptional listening experience, a rosary album based on the events at Guadalupe. It is called Through her Eyes: A Journey to Jesus. The album is groundbreaking, refreshing, contemporary and traditional, spoken word and musical. It contains:

  • All four Mysteries, including the new Luminous Mysteries
  • Scriptural meditations with deeply moving, original music scores beneath each decade that help you to profoundly experience the life, passion and resurrection of our Lord (Hail Mary's spoken by Fr. Ray Guimond and Mark Mallett)
  • Contemporary & energizing versions of the "Apostle's Creed", "Our Father", "Glory Be's" and "Hail Holy Queen" all written & produced by Mark Mallett
  • Four original songs Mark has written to honor Mary (including the concert favourite "Family Beads")
  • Dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of all America, it has Mary's words to St. Juan Diego at the end of each Mystery (spoken by Christine Foisy-Erickson of MiCasa Ministries)
  • 154 minutes in length--more than 3 times the length of a regular album!

Also worth noting: Annie Karto, has performed "Song to Our Lady of Guadalupe", which uses the familiar melody from "Pescadore De Hombres/Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore." It is off her album, "Overshadow Me."

Song to Our Lady of Guadalupe Words Anonymous You are the fountain of my life Under your shadow, and in your protection, I fear no evil, no pain, no worry... Maria, oh most merciful Mother Gentle Virgin, with the name, Guadalupe On a mountain, we find roses in winter, All the world, has been touched by your love. Here, in the crossing of your arms Could there be anything, else that I need? Nothing discourages, nothing depress me. You, are the Star of the Ocean My boat is small, and the waves are so high But with you to guide me, I'll reach my homeland. You, are the Dawn of a New Day For you give birth to the Son of the Father All of my lifetime, I'll walk beside you... Copyright (c) 1979 OCP Publications Read Full Story >>>

Great Advent Reflections and New Christmas CDs

Susan Bailey writes: From time to time I get more new stuff than I can schedule into the GrapeVine News Minute Podcast or the magazine, so I will mention it here. Sean Ward from CatholicTV in Boston, MA sent me a note yesterday about Advent reflections that they are doing on the website. If you have not visited this site before, be sure and visit it. All their programming is online, proving once again that CatholicTV is staying ahead of the curve. You can find their Advent programs where it says "Now Playing - CATHOLICTV SERIES" - scroll down a bit to find the Advent link. Of their Advent programming, Sean writes, "Check out Fr. Bill Kelly. He has a different reflection every week (along with the other four priests). Beginning next week they are sung. CatholicTV's Advent programming is underway. Each day of the Advent calendar we have a different reflection. Think of it as your thought for the day as you wait for Jesus birthday." Artists have certainly been busy! Just within the last week I've received 3 wonderful new projects, one of which (Popple's new release, "Plaid") will be profiled in the Winter issue of GrapeVine, coming out in February. My schedule with the podcast is full for this month but I just had to mention these two new releases that I've received related to Christmas. Mike Zabrocki has put out his first Christmas project and it contains some traditional songs that I've not heard before including my favorite, "The Cherry Tree Carol" which he does with his wife, Laura. There's also a great Advent hymn on it, "Come O Lord." Listen to samples on Mike's MySpace site. Tom Franzak has put out a wonderful new project which includes members of his family (and they all sing very well!). The packaging for this CD is very unusual and really catches the eye. When it first arrived in my mailbox and I opened the package, I thought it was a Christmas card. That's because the package is designed to be just that. The inside contains the CD, lyrics to all the original songs and a picture of Tom and his family. It's beautifully done. I listened on the way into work this morning and really enjoyed hearing both spiritually-based songs ("Emmanuel," "Behold the Child," "Let It Be Done," etc.) and songs with traditional secular Christmas themes ("A Christmas Card," "On Christmas Day," "Through the Eyes of a Child," etc.). I always love anything that's new and innovative. Tom's daughter Lucy, especially, is a wonderful singer. Great job, all you Franzaks! You can find their project at www.littlewaychristmas.com. That's it for now. Stay tuned for this weekend's podcast which will feature Lynn Geyer talking about her Merry Christmas New York City show at Carnegie Hall. Peace and Happy Advent! Susan Bailey

Story Behind the Song: Imagine

Imagine by Nancy Krebs Looking at a newborn baby, nestled in your arms; you can’t believe how perfect she is, you can’t believe her charms. Imagine that this child you hold would someday grow to be the Mother of your God, the Lord of you and me. That’s what happened long ago in a country far away. Two people watched their little girl at work, at home, at play. She always did her best, she did what she was told; a child so very perfect, they never had to scold. They never imagined, how could they imagine what her future was to be, the glories she would see. They never imagined, really imagined that all hope would begin with their child who was born without sin. As she was growing up, her kindness knew no bound The room just seemed to light up whenever she was around. There was no single virtue that she did not possess; there was no single sin that she would need to confess. When she was fully grown an angel came to her. Bringing her the message and the honor God would confer. She would be the Mother of the Son of God no less. The plan would unfold with her simple answer “yes”. She never imagined, how could she imagine? What her future was to be, the glories she would see. We never imagined, really imagined; our salvation would begin with this child who was born without sin. What a life she did begin this child who was born without sin.

Gretchen Harris' Sing of Mary

As a way of honoring Mary, this iMix is made up of songs from the CD Sing of Mary by Gretchen Harris. The selections are part traditional, part contemporary, but all are a heart-felt tribute to the Blessed Mother!

Merry Christmas, New York City!

The Coming of Our God

Just found this in one of my older hymnals. They just don't craft songs like this anymore. The Coming of Our God C. Coffin, 1676-1749. Tr R. Campbell, 1814-1868, and compilers The coming of our God Our thoughts must now employ Then let us meet Him on the road With songs of holy joy. The co-eternal Son A Maiden's offspring see; A servant's form Christ putteth on To set His people free Daughter of Sion, rise To greet thine infant King; Nor let thy stubborn heart despise The pardon he doth bring. In glory from His throne Again will Christ descend And summon all that are His own To joys that never end. Let deeds of darkness fly Before the approaching morn, For unto sin 'tis ours to die And serve the Virgin-born. Our joyful praises sing To Christ, that set us free; Like tribute to the Father bring, And Holy Ghost, to Thee.

Story Behind the Song: Wait With Me

Susan Bailey writes:

Wait with Me is based on readings from a book detailing the locutions received by Fr. Don Stefano Gobbi, the founder of the Marian Movement of Priests from the Blessed Mother. In these readings, Mary speaks about her waiting for the Christ Child to be born. I found these readings to be a wonderful way to reflect upon Advent, a beautiful season of joyful expectation that is so overshadowed by the noise and chaos of the commercial Christmas of the world. Written in the first person and arranged and performed in a simple and peaceful manner, you can imagine the Blessed Mother sharing her reflections with you on the coming of Christ Jesus as a baby into the world. This song is available on through iTunes, and is on two albums: Wait with Me: Advent of the Promised Son and Mater Dei. Visit my website to see how you can purchase the albums. You can listen to the song in its entirety here (or here for dial-up users).

Wait with Me based on #462, #484 and #508 of To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons by Don Stefano Gobbi Beloved child, enter in this mystery This blessed time as we wait for the Holy Son Come inside of my immaculate heart And wait with me, oh wait for Him to come! Come feel my sigh of expectation The spark of love, the moan of desire As I wait now in labor With a love that burns like fire The nightime comes and darkness swallows The fading light, the end of day And yet His light envelopes me In His ecstasy, His way Prepare your hearts now for this moment In quiet solitude and song And let the tranquil peace of soul Mark the passage of night to dawn

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