Tag Archives: christmas

My Favorite Christmas Albums – 2016

Back in 2010, I wrote about my favorite Christmas songs and albums. (You can check it out here.)

Six years is long enough! So, today, I’m updating you on some of my favorite Christmas albums. I’d love to hear what your favorites are, so leave some comments! And even better, I put together a Spotify playlist so you can enjoy them too.

  1. Christmas… From the Realms of Glory by Bebo Norman – Bebo Norman may be retired, but he remains one of the absolute best songwriters in CCM (just give a listen to the cut “Deeper Still” from his album Ten Thousand Days). If you listened to Bebo back in his indie days, you may understand this: Christmas… From the Realms of Glory sounds like it came from his heart more than anything else I’ve heard from him.  With simple instrumentation – acoustic guitar, piano, melodica, hammer dulcimer – the record is a masterpiece of warm, introspective, Americana pop. Highlights: “Born to Die,” “Come and Worship,” “The Rebel Jesus”
  2. Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson – Being in ministry can get tough sometimes. The stress can be overwhelming, especially at Christmas time. A few years ago, I hit one of those walls, and this album got me through it. Peterson and his collaborators – among them Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga, and Ben Shive – weave a folk-pop tapestry that brings the story of Scripture to life – from creation to Christmas. From the beautiful “Labor of Love” to the silly “Matthew’s Begats,” this is a special album. Highlights: “Labor of Love,” “Deliver Us,” “Matthew’s Begats”
  3. Advent Christmas EP, Vol. 2 by Future of Forestry – So you’re probably noticing a theme among my favorite Christmas albums – serenity. I love the mellow, organic, ambient sounds and Eric Owyoung’s honest voice. Those are the things that make this EP one of the best. Highlight: “The Earth Stood Still”
  4. Silver City by Falling Up – If you remember Falling Up from their early days, you might think, “That doesn’t really sound like Jud’s kind of band.” And you’d be right. But over the years their sound evolved into something more experimental and ambient. That led to their 2013 album Silver City, a collection of inventively arranged Christmas songs and a few originals. There’s energy, contemplation, cool melodies, Jesus, and little bit of sci-fi. Highlights: “Emanuel,” “Sugar Plum Fairy,” “The Little Robot”
  5. Christmas by Michael W. Smith – High-church, classical Christmas album with classic Smitty touches, and it’s pretty flippin’ amazing. Still one of my favorites. Highlights: “First Snowfall,” “All Is Well,” “Gloria”

Christmas album honorable mention: Christmastime by Michael W. Smith, Music of Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman, Home for Christmas by Amy Grant

The absolute worst Christmas song ever: still “Grown Up Christmas List.”

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Christmas | Worship Christ with Abandon

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The magi were filled to overflowing with joy when the star finally showed them their destination. They went into the house and, seeing Jesus with His mother, they fell down and worshiped and then gave Him treasures of great value.

Jesus is worthy of our worship. He is more valuable than our most valuable treasures. Coming into His presence is cause for great joy.

He reaches out and leads people to worship Him.

Do you rejoice this way at the opportunity to come into His presence? Do you worship Him this way, giving Him the things that you value? Have you ever really placed enough value on Him to worship this way consistently, allowing this type of worship to become more natural?

Worship Christ with abandon because nothing – not your time, your life, your possessions – are as significant or as valuable as He is.

Do you approach worship as though it were routine or mundane? If we truly worship, we’re stepping into the presence of the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the human race, the King of all. This is the opportunity we receive when we receive the opportunity to worship Him. It ought to produce great joy in us because Christ is infinitely valuable, infinitely significant. And this joy, this recognition of His worth ought to lead us to want Him more than the things we treasure, to give Him what we treasure as a demonstration of the fact that He is more valuable, as a way to intensify that desire in myself.

Pray this way: “God, I do not treasure You above all, but in this moment, I truly do want to. Please change my heart. Please show me what I must do to ascribe the worth to You that You are due, to worship You as You ought to be worshiped.”

It’s by His grace that we are even afforded the opportunity to worship Him. It’s only by His grace that our hearts can be changed to treasure Him as He should be treasured, to sacrifice for the sake of worshiping Him.