Christmas in the ‘90s and ‘00s are some of my favorite memories. My siblings and I were just texting about some of our favorite stories from growing up. We’ve got some good ones, but I’ll never forget the smell of our fireplace in the winters when we lived in Minnesota coupled with the soundtrack of Christmas music.
Amy Grant’s “Home for Christmas” album along with Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime” and the Carpenters “Christmas Collection” were the three albums that were always on repeat in my home. I’m a really big fan of Christmas, so I create a custom playlist of Christmas songs every year, but tracks from those three albums always make up about 50% of what’s playing in my home now at Christmastime.
Why am I talking about Christmas music? It’s such a controversial topic. I start listening to it whenever the first snow arrives, but some swear by waiting until November or after Thanksgiving. Wherever you land, you probably do listen to Christmas music.
The Meaning of Christmas
As Christians, we should look forward to remembering the event of God becoming man, the Timeless One stepping into time. How incredible is that?!? And of course, we also get to enjoy the festivities of the season that have absolutely nothing to do with anything spiritual. Christmas is just the best.
Choosing Music for Your Family
It struck me a few years ago that as special as those three Christmas albums are to me, there will be music that is really special and nostalgic to my kids when they are my age. I could choose to just kind of let life happen and whatever they latch onto will be their favorite memories. Or, I could purposely and intentionally choose things when they’re young that they will remember forever. I have the ability to choose my kids’ nostalgia.
You can apply this to many areas of life and different seasons of the year. You can do birthday traditions, summer camping trips, or end of the school year breakfasts. But it’s Christmastime right now, and I want to share with you what I do with my kids every night of the Christmas season.
We always play music for the kids at night. I’ve got three girls and a boy. The girls have a room and Zack has a room. Before I put them to bed, I have a carefully selected playlist of songs for them to listen to at night. Most of these are calm, quiet songs about God. But during Christmastime, they listen to one album, in order, on repeat. For like 6 or 7 weeks. Every. Single. Night.
What album is that, you may ask? “Behold the Lamb of God” by Andrew Peterson. I had never heard of Andrew Peterson until about a year before we had our first child, Melody. My brother introduced him to me before he was cool. That is, before he wrote “Is He Worthy?”. His songs have been very encouraging to me, and I would encourage you to check them out. But the “Behold the Lamb of God” album is special in that he tells the story of the Bible from almost the very beginning to the birth of Christ.
The beginning of the album starts with the song, “Gather Round, Ye Children, Come”. He says, “Listen to the old, old story of the power of death undone and an infant born of glory. Son of God, Son of Man.” He is calling on children to listen closely.
In “So Long, Moses” he talks about the end of Moses’ life through Saul’s kingship and David’s kingship. David was a king on a throne full of power with a sword in his fist. Full of wisdom, full of strength, and the hearts of the people were his. There was never a king like him. Then he talks about the splitting of the kingdom and how the people longed for a king like David. And Isaiah said that there would be one coming who would bear no beauty or glory. He’d be rejected and despised. But out of Bethlehem, small among Judah, a ruler would come who was ancient and strong. I get shivers when I hear that line.
If you’ve ever wanted to memorize the beginning of the book of Matthew, look no further than “Matthew’s Begats” where he literally sings the genealogy of Christ. It’s incredible. Just look it up.
The song “Labor of Love” is almost a hard one to listen to as it recounts Mary’s birth of Jesus and how hard it must have been for her. She was scared, far from home, with no mother’s hand to hold. And noble Joseph by her side, perhaps was able to see by the light of the moon at night. But the little baby in her womb, He was the Maker of the moon. These lyrics are just too good.
And then at the end of the album, he closes with the song, “Behold the Lamb of God”. He has come into the world to save us as a sacrificial lamb. He loves us so much. The very last song is a really cool compilation of almost all of the songs of the album in “The Theme of My Song”. He says, “So sing out with joy for the brave little boy who was God but He made Himself nothing.” This song, and the whole album just causes me to see Jesus in light of the whole story of the Bible.
My prayer is that when my children are old, they will remember what they are listening to every night right now. I hope they share this music and the timeless truths within their own children. As dads, we have the profound power to shape the future of our children. And that even includes what will be nostalgia for them when they’re my age.