Tue, May 28, 2024

Faith Friday: Celebrate with Song

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

It’s hard for me to imagine life (even one day) without music. It is a gift from God that speaks deeply to the core of who we are. Music somehow mixes emotion, memories, nostalgia, and our life experiences in a way nothing else does. Hans Christian Andersen said, “When words fail, music speaks.”  I have found that to be true throughout my life and have observed it in the lives of those around me.

Christmas has a soundtrack all its own, unlike any other time of the year. Some radio stations begin playing only Christmas music on Nov. 1. Other radio stations now offer dedicated full-time Christmas music streams all year.

I recall being at my grandmother’s house growing up and hearing Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Harry Belafonte, Perry Como, Burl Ives, and others singing Christmas songs from vinyl records literally piled up on a turntable. My Granny would start the music early in the morning and let it play throughout the day. Many of these songs are familiar and woven into our culture’s holiday celebration. Songs like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “The Chipmunk Song.”

Of course, real Christmas classics have been around for hundreds of years and tell the story of the actual reason for Christmas – the coming of our long-awaited King – Jesus. “Away in a Manger,” “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” are all Christmas songs pointing to the birth of Christ.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Handel’s Messiah performed at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. I still remember the chills I felt when everyone in the building spontaneously stood and together joined in singing the Hallelujah Chorus. It was powerful and felt like a glimpse of heaven. There is zero doubt in my mind that Handel was inspired to write these timeless songs. It took him just 24 days to write Messiah with rare breaks for food or sleep. Handel’s servant found him in tears while writing the Hallelujah Chorus, as he tried to describe his experience, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of Angels.” Though the work was originally written for Easter, it’s hard to imagine it not being part of Christmas celebrations around the world.

I hope you have been able to see or participate in a Christmas musical celebration, Singing Christmas Tree, or school Christmas program. In the CSRA, 88.3 WAFJ FM offers a wonderful variety of Christmas music to aid in your celebration.

In addition to 88.3, I invite you to explore some Christmas albums that have become favorites for me, I have included the year they were released. Listed here in no specific order:

An Evening in December – First Call (1985) – Incredible vocals and tight-knit harmonies!

An Evening in December – Volume 2 (1987) – More favorites with the distinctive First Call sound.

Anthem for Christmas (1989) – Michael W. Smith. Michael has recorded several Christmas Albums. This is one of my favorites.

Amy Grant Christmas (2019)Amy knocks it out of the park with this extensive Christmas collection. It’s just over two hours of music and includes 35 songs!

December Peace (2009) – Stanton Lanier. Stanton’s music is all instrumental. It’s soothing and inspirational. He has created over 20 albums from his home base in Atlanta.

This is Christmas (2022) – Tasha Layton. From the humorous “Diddly Squat” to the soaring vocals of “O Holy Night,” Tasha has managed to create an album encompassing a variety of moods.

A Drummer Boy Christmas (2021) – For King and Country. Brothers, Joel and Luke give us their custom treatment with songs of the season as well as some of their own creations.

The Heart of Christmas (2011) – Matthew West. Matthew seems to really love Christmas and it shows in his Christmas releases. This is another favorite for me.

Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship – Live (2015)Chris Tomlin. This collection of songs will always have a special place in my heart because I got to sing in the chorus. It was recorded on a very hot summer day in Nashville in July of 2015 at a studio on Music Row.  You can sense the spirit of worship come through as you listen (and hopefully sing along).

Behold: The Complete Set – Lauren Daigle. (2023) Her distinctive voice has captured the attention of music lovers worldwide. Enjoy the 15 songs in this collection.

Of course, there are dozens, more likely hundreds of Christmas albums available to listen to, so I know I’ve just scratched the surface here. However, I didn’t want the season to pass without encouraging you to listen to these incredible songs of hope.

I believe music is a gift that literally impacts the atmosphere around us and touches our hearts in complex, deep, and meaningful ways. At Christmas and anytime you listen to music, I hope you will wisely choose songs that uplift you and encourage you. They are most definitely available.  Merry Christmas!

Subscribe to our eNewsletter for the BEST local business news delivered to your Inbox each week day.

* indicates required

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Posts

It’s cheaper to keep her!

CSRA marketing expert, Kate Sanders continues her look at the sales funnel in any business. In today’s marketing mix, she delves into retaining your customers.

Simon Says: Positive Economic News

The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.3 percent in March from February. It is 1.6 percent higher than March 2023. The two components that