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Here in the U.S. Christmas music is already blaring in many of our malls which means that by the time the season really arrives we will be heartily sick of I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and other popular tunes. Just thinking about the array of Christmas music that is available is a daunting task and how to keep it fresh and renewing throughout the season is even more challenging.
I have found that focusing my own music choices on Advent themes rather than the Christmas carols that the secular culture grabs onto really helps me to keep my spiritual focus. I love Advent chants, especially Gregorian chants, and also contemplative music so obviously this is the focus of my suggestions here.
My favourite Celtic style musician is Jeff Johnson. His Selah service meditations on Psalms are beautiful to listen to at this time of the year to help us maintain our peace. His Christmas album A Quiet Knowing Christmas is also one of my constant companions.
This Gregorian Advent chants was my introduction to Advent chants and remains one of my favourites. It is available on Amazon but here is another recording of Advent chants I have also really enjoyed.
Another I highly recommend acquiring is a set of Advent chants recorded by The Benedictines of Mary “Advent at Ephesus” These hit the top of the classic music lists a couple of years ago and it is easy to see why.
And another favourite of mine an hour of contemplative music from Hildegard of Bingen Voice of the Living Light
This collection of Gregorian chants is very restful because of the nature sounds in the background.
And I just came across this amazing set of chants recorded in 1930
If you are looking for more traditional Christmas Music here are some that are hard to beat:
The Three Tenors Christmas Concert in Vienna 1999
Andrea Bocelli Christmas songs
Celtic Woman A Christmas Celebration
And for those that want to check out the vast range of what is out there.
Top 40 Pop has a list of their top 100 Christmas songs .
And a fascinating list of 50 top Christmas Songs from TimeOut London.
A great list of classical Christmas albums. from Ranker.com.
If you are looking for an international Christmas:
Some beautiful songs for peace, from Latin America:.
African Christmas by Ed Jordan is a very powerful song to listen to at this time of the year.
Betelehemu – a Nigerian Christmas song sung by the African Children’s Choir
I was not able to find this song on You-tube, but one Asian carol I would recommend is The Hunger Carol with words by New Zealander Shirley Erena Murray and music by Taiwanese hymnologist I-to Loh
Music and More from MSA
Each year I produce an Advent meditation video with background music by Jeff Johnson. These can be viewed online or purchased by in high resolution by download or DVD.
Advent 2013 – Come Home to God.
Advent 2012 – Alleluia – The Christ Child Comes ,
The entire series of Advent videos from 2007-2012
Advent and Christmas is one of the busiest seasons of the year for Mustard Seed Associates as we publish many other seasonal resources.
A Journey Toward Home: Soul Travel For Advent Through Lent by Kristiin Carroccino and Christine Sine, This is our latest resource – a comprehensive guide to Advent through Epiphany with not only daily reflections from 55 contributors, but also weekly gatherings, recipes and more.
Waiting for the Light by Susan Wade, Ricci Kilmer and Christine Sine. This devotional covers the season of Advent with daily reflections and weekly liturgies.
Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray by Christine Sine
In the last couple of years we have produced several sets of prayer cards which are available for purchase. These have been used extensively for prayer, grief counselling, gifts, and congregational distribution.
In 2013 we also produced a series of podcasts hosted by Christine Sine and Ryan Marsh that you may like to listen to.
First week of Advent with Tara Ward and Chelle Stearns listen here,
Second week of Advent with Aaron Strumpel, Dwight Friesen, and Donna and Jim Mathwig listen here
Third Week of Advent with Karen Ward, Tacey Howe Wispelwey and Mary September listen here
Fourth Week of Advent with Lacey Brown, and Tom Sine listen here.
This is part of a series on Christmas/Advent resources. There is a free download available with all the links or follow these links:
What About Simplifying This Christmas
Getting ready for a Blue Christmas
Getting Ready for Advent/Christmas Worship Resources for the Season
Who Will You Invite to the Manger?
Helping Kids Give Back This Christmas
Advent Activities for Families and Kids
Advent Is Coming What Scriptures Will You Read
Some Thoughts on Christmas Music
What On Earth Are The O Antiphons
Thanks Christine for these suggestions.