One Christmas Album To Rule Them All

The Michael W Smith Christmas Album

Now that it’s Advent, the four-Sunday season leading up to Christmas, I must hasten to remind people everywhere that Michael W. Smith’s Christmas is the Best Christmas album ever.

Sure YOU might think that the best thing about Advent is churches that are able to incorporate boxing equipment into their Advent decor.

Advent punching bag
This is almost the perfect blend of the traditional and the modern.

I’ll give you, it’s got punch, but no punch like…

Christmas: The Best Christmas Album Ever

Heck, it might be the best ALBUM ever.

Am I overstating?  No.  I would never do that.  In a holly jolly nutshell:  Christmas is a Christmas miracle.

Michael W. Smith released this gem smack dab in the middle of his pop music /  Alan Parsons beard / argyle sweater & socks combo period.  It was 1989, and I made haste to my local Christian bookstore to buy it. (Yes kids, I bought music in a store on a thing called a CD.  I nearly broke my arm hand-cranking my Model T in order to get there)  Having acquired my musical prize, I hurried home and put the disc in my stereo, prepared to ROCK OUT for Christmas.

There was no ROCKING OUT. There was only an album that changed my Christmases forever.

Christmas is an orchestral, choral cantata of original Christmas music woven together with traditional carols with not a Jingle Bell in sight.  I was blown away.  That Smith guy could do much more than just add extra syllables to words to make them fit the music (though it’s true that nobody can sing Yeah–eee-yeah–uh better than Michael).

What floored me was the message of the entire album as a cohesive work of art.  Musically, lyrically, it wove a tender picture of the Nativity.  One of my favorite moments is a simple verse sung by a child in the song All Is Well:

All is well, all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love’s light
Sing A-le
Sing Alleluia

I get choked up just typing the lyric.  Honest. Christmas makes Christmas Christmas.  Check it out!

But what about the rest of the fun stuff for the Christmas season?  Everybody likes some jingle belling to go with their mistle-toeing, right?.

Enter The Festive Fantastic Four

In this case, The Fantastic Four is not the ill-fated Marvel movie from earlier this year; it’s the four Christmas albums that will meet ALL of your Christmas music needs.  This frosty, feliz Navidad, fantabulous foursome of albums covers Christmas from every necessary angle.  They are:

Michael Smith’s Christmas
Michael Smith’s Christmastime
Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album
Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas

Michael and Amy Make Great Christmas Albums

There you have it… the Yuletide season in its entirety is contained in the four titles above.  I’m sure of it.

How about you? What’s your favorite Christmas album?

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12 thoughts on “One Christmas Album To Rule Them All

  1. It’s now the Fantastic Five – last year’s MWS “Spirit of Christmas” must be added to this group! My personal favorite stretch is “What Child is This” through the end of the new album. The Spirit led me to tears the first time I heard it!

    At work, (my CD’s are at home) my Spotify playlist features these five albums.

  2. So true! I bought it on cassette and listened to it over and over again! Still my favorite Christmas album even after all these years. Thank you, MWS, for giving us a soundtrack for Advent!

  3. I agree with the awesomeness of this album, a true classic, right up there with the Carpenters Christmas album. (Maybe look that one up on wikipedia?) Smitty’s “The Spirit of Christmas” is also fantastic!

    • I’m going to politely stand aside and let the Carpenter reference stand.
      I was traumatized by the Carpenters as a child. 😉
      So I’m glad we can agree on MWS!

  4. Agreed! I first bought this on cassette back in 1989. I was going to Bible college in Minnesota, and when I brought it back to the dorm room, I played it on our boom box (remember those?) A light snow was falling outside, which really set the mood. It’s still hands down my favorite Christmas album. I can’t listen to it during any months other that late November and December. I also can’t just pick and choose the songs. The entire CD MUST be listened to in one sitting. It’s THAT GOOD. Thanks for the post!

    • Scotty, you are so correct! Not just about boom boxes, but also about the need to listen start to finish. Such a work of art. Thanks for the comment!

  5. All I can say is a big “Amen” on all counts!!
    On another related topic, my all-time favorite classical Christmas album to rule them all is, of course, the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah, including such favorites as: “And the Glory of the Lord” “For Unto Us a Child is Born (Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace)” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Classical Choral Christmas music does not get better than this!
    Also, Honorable Mention to Pentatonix’s First Christmas Album cuts: “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Carol of the Bells.”

    • Preach it! I haven’t heard the Pentatonix album, I’ll have to check that out. I’m sure it will beat out the Christopher Lee Heavy Metal Christmas album, though it wins for originality!

    • Patrice, thanks! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Seriously, when I wrote the post last night, and went and found the YouTube link for All Is Well and got all teared up again. What an album!

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