Most public places don’t play real Christmas songs. We do.It’s the time of year when, everywhere you go, Christmas music is playing. Or is it?
A lot of what you hear in the stores and on the radio in December might be better named Christmastime music, since much of it has little to do with the historical event it is supposedly celebrating.
Don’t get me wrong—I like the fun stuff, too. Occasionally a few actual Christmas songs do make their way into the playlists, whether favorite carols like “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” or more recent standards such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?” But there is a rich heritage of sacred Christmas music both old and new that the broader culture neglects. Even Sirius/XM radio has cut its classical Christmas station from a month-long run a few years ago to a pathetic three days in 2014.
Below is a sampling of some of the best Christmas music you don’t hear unless you know where to look for it. If you aren’t familiar with these pieces, they may not even sound like Christmas songs to you. Yet each is a profound poetic and musical expression of the miracle of the Incarnation. Enjoy—for the first time or the hundredth. (“The Messiah” could be its own list, so has been intentionally left out of this one.)
Go to the Federalist here. . . Or you can put up their YouTube playlist here. . .
I will simply post two of my own favs from their list:
and, of course, perhaps the best Lutheran anthem of the last hundred years or so. . .