12 Holiday Joys, Joy 4 – Music

Music is so much more to me than anything I can write in a silly blog post. And it is deeply wedded to my love for and immersion in the holiday season, mostly the Christmas season. (Though a South Park Hanukkah song does make the cut.)

12 Holiday Joys logo (1)

This is nothing new, but music stirs my emotions in a way that words can’t touch, sets the mood for any gathering in a much more complete way, guides our attention to something both deep inside ourselves as well as out in the world, and is a wonderful break from the wall of words thrown at us from every direction in this information-saturated age. Music is that feeling and knowledge that is pre-discursive, that is allowed to just be because it doesn’t need or require words. Any lyrics added are just cherries on the sundae.

It’s no surprise that music is central to my love for the holiday and Christmas season. It’s worth celebrating a few of my favorites, and I certainly hope you take the time to find these in digital, CD, or streaming form.

Handel’s The Messiah


Image from and link to purchase your quintessential Christmas holy music here.

I mean. This is just the Christmas album. For feeling the holiness and expansiveness of the Christmas holiday, it doesn’t get any better than Handel’s The Messiah. I try to attend a live (sometimes sing-along!!) concert every year, but if I can’t, I will take some time to sit down and absorb. My favorite movements are “And the Glory of the Lord” and “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion.”


Michael W. Smith Christmastime


Image from and link to purchase here.

I love this album. It’s so lush and orchestral and hits all the Christmas moods for me. It’s one of the best Christmas albums to just listen through from beginning to end, especially for quiet, contemplative nights. (Though it does get a little zippy on track 8!)


Sarah McLachlan Wintersong


Image from and link to purchase here.

For a true calm, moody, soothing Christmas album, you can’t get better than Sarah McLachlan. Perfect on low volume, while reading and sipping on mulled wine.


Anne Murray Christmas Songs


Image from and link to purchase here.

Oh, Anne Murray. You vixen of Canadian song. My mom loved this album, so hearing this always brings me back to my childhood playing with little fuzzy bears in toy sleds and twirling my favorite glass ballerina ornament so it sends rainbows of reflected Christmas lights around the room. This album is warmth and nostalgia and love to me.


Diana Krall Christmas Songs


Image from and link to purchase here.

This is it #1. This is one of two Christmas albums that are the joy of Christmas for me. It’s DKrall, y’all! You know my love for her runs deep, and she brings it just the way Christmas swing should be brought. This is the best Christmas party music, IMHO.


Mariah Carey Merry Christmas


Image from and link to purchase here.

Ok, This is it #2. I saved this for last because this is pure classic by now. This song and album bring back so many memories for me, from discovering the now-iconic “All I Want for Christmas is You” at my childhood home, to rocking out after Thanksgiving break to it with my best friend in college. This is essential Christmas party fare. You know it, I know it, we all know it.


The best part of all these is that they can be streamed on YouTube or borrowed from public libraries. So much music is free these days, which is both unfortunate for new artists and wonderful for eager ears. Try to buy where you can, but enjoy the free music where you can. Music is soul food and provides a feast not to be missed for full human flourishing.

I’d love to know your favorite albums, to know what kind of music hits you deep in your soul and makes the holiday season always something a bit more than it is. Please share with me so I can share in your joy.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Love this! My Dad always listened to Amy Grant’s Christmas albums so love those. I always try to attend The Messiah as well. But I missed this year and the friend I usually go with told me that it was, hands down, the best one. It was absolutely magical. And on and on she went. Of course. 🙂 Also, love Bach’s Magnificat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janamlight says:

      That is the worst!! When you know you’ve missed a magical music experience. I love the Amy Grant albums! Also the Steven Curtis Chapman album. His O Come Emmanuel makes me cry every time.


  2. Anonymous says:

    This is Genni, btw. ;P

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janamlight says:

      Bahahaha PHEW! Not an internet weirdo. Or at least an internet weirdo I already know and love. 😉


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