Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear? Modern Marvels

I love music, almost as much as I love writing or movies. Probably because music tells stories too. Poetry and philosophy and praise all can be enhanced when set to music.

As much as I enjoy traditional Christmas hymns, carols and jingles, I get really excited when I hear a (relatively) new composition, a song from the past two decades or so. I value innovation and creativity and a new idea, or an old idea presented in a new way.

A new Christmas song is a hard sell. The old ones certainly monopolize the market, and for good reason. So I want to share my favorite newbies, do my part in making them future classics.

First, Christmas Is All in the Heart by Steven Curtis Chapman, written and recorded in 1995. He and his wife sing this homey duet, covering all the usual aspects of Christmas, but the lyrics reach a more personal place in the heart of those who may be searching for joy during the holidays instead of celebrating it. It’s touching and compassionate and simple and true. (click here to listen)

Second, A Strange Way to Save the World by 4Him, recorded in 1993. Again, they strike a personal chord with lyrics from Joseph’s point of view, helping us imagine what it may have been like to experience something as strange and scary as your wife giving birth to the One True God in a barn in Bethlehem. I picture a confounded and confused, but deeply grateful and humble man having an intimate conversation with his Creator and God. Gives me chills. Makes me think. (click to listen)

Third, 2000 Decembers Ago, performed by Joy Williams in 2000. This song brought up questions I’d never thought of before hearing it. In the lyrics that follow, see if you find yourself wondering the same things. (click to listen)

Did it feel like a night any different

Then at least a million before

Was there any rare expectation

Like there was some kind of somethin’ in store

Did the sky have to hold back the thunder

Did the moon find new reasons to glow

Could the children somehow sense the wonder

2000 Decembers ago.

Were the sheep as amazed as the shepherds

At the new star that lit up the sky

Did the willow trees whisper excitement

To the rivers and streams passing by

Did the joy ricochet off the mountains

‘Til it filled up the valleys below

Did all the world sense love abounding

2000 Decembers ago.

Was anyone able to look at the stable

And not see a child but a King

I wish I could hear back over the years

As heaven and nature sing, heaven and nature sing.

Did the walls of the barn start to tremble

With the glory they could not contain

Did anyone wake with the feeling

Of peace that they could not explain

Oh the love must have been overwhelming

As it warmed everyone in its flow

For all of the earth is still telling

Of 2000 Decembers ago.

(click to listen)

Merry Christmas in 9 days!

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground.

(photos by


Fun Memories said...

Oh I love Strange way to Save the World. just heard that the other day. Thanks for sharing your gift of writing.

KM Wilsher said...

Whew, I love those lyrics. What a great post. I didn't know about these. Thanks for updating my Christmas music! :)

LynnRush said...

I like the group 4Him. Fantastic. that was a nice song, too, I hadn't heard it before. I love their voices.

Merry Christmas. NINE days? Really? YIKES!

Sarah(the)Baker said...

I love the Christmas classics myself....I'm also kind of obsessed with expressing old ideas in new ways. :)

I will never forget the first time my newly-saved mother re-discovered Christmas music. Specifically, "O Holy Night." She cried and cried.

Books, movies, and music change people. It's so awesome you're taking the time to illustrate that so clearly with your writing!

Lori Lundquist said...

Ladies! Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by Dry Ground! You encourage me greatly.
Lynn - 4Him Christmas is probably my all around fave - their arrangements of familiar songs are amazing.
Sarah - SO sweet about your mom - O Holy Night is an incredible and powerful song!