Did you know that Mariah Carey receives $873,000 every year in royalties from her Christmas tune “All I want for Christmas is you”. Don’t get me wrong, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album is great! But a little cheesy. It’s time for another edition of 5 Christmas Albums that don’t suck! You can see volume 1 here.
The criteria for inclusion in this list? Obviously not sucking is essential. It also needs to have been released during the last four years (since the last list). Finally the bulk of the songs need to be Jesus songs… i.e. not the lame Santa songs. (Tangent: who would win in a cafe fight between Jesus and Santa? Check this). Here goes…
1. JOY HAS DAWNED by Kings Kaleidoscope //
This EP was released last Christmas and I haven’t stopped playing it for the 12 months since! I blogged on it three times… here and here and here. I also based the Christmas preaching series at St Faith’s on the title track. Why so much attention? Kings Kaleidoscope are one of my favourite bands and this EP is packed with energy and joy through its 5 tracks.
2. THE OH HELLO’S FAMILY CHRISTMAS ALBUM by The Oh Hellos //
I’ve had this one on repeat for the last 24 hours. It’s amazing! This folk rock EP walks through the story of Jesus in 4 movements with a pastiche of different Christmas Carols. It feels like it could be the score to a short film on the birth of Christ. Don’t shuffle the tracks, listen to them in order.
3. REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY by Citizens //
Citizens released this EP last month and it was being regularly played in our car until our 2.5 year old put a 10 cent coin in the CD player. Another energetic offering from Mars Hill Church.
4. CHRISTMAS SONGS COLLECTION VOL. 1-5 by Folk Angel //
42 tracks of Jesus-centred Christmas song goodness! Excellent arrangements. Keep an eye out for the great artists they’ve collaborated with on some of the tracks.
5. SILVER & GOLD by Sufjan Stevens //
This is quirkiest of the list. But Sufjan has cool stuff. I’ve particularly enjoyed using one of his tracks as the title track for a radio station on Pandora: it pulls out lots of great modern artists as well as old school stuff like Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Cash.
Got any others you can suggest? Leave any recommendations in the comments.
See below for 4 of the 5 albums embedded to play on this site
Watch Archbishop Dr Glenn Davies‘ first Christmas message below. The Archbishop of the Sydney Anglican Diocese shares his thoughts on “selfies”, being in the image of God and the relationship of Christmas to Easter. An excellent message.
How are you tracking with your Christmas shopping? Started? Finished? Almost finished? Perhaps you’ve only got those people left to buy gifts for. You know the ones… those that are hard to buy for. They’re picky or they’ve already got everything! Good luck with that. What about Jesus? How would you go if you had to buy a gift for him? He’s the creator of all things – how do you give to the Creator something that doesn’t already belong to him?!??
In this sermon in our Joy Has Dawned series I explore the 3 gifts given by the Magi to baby Jesus. Traditionally these gifts have been seen to symbolise something about the identity and mission of Jesus. This was first suggested by Origen in the 3rd Century. Is this a good reading of the text? Have a listen below to hear what my thoughts.
In the Summer of 2009/2010 readers of this blog raised $1741 for a clean water project in Rwanda. Then in 2010/2011 we helped to raise $2835 for a clean water project in India. It was really exciting to see the way that $4500 could be raised via social media.
IT’S TIME TO DO IT AGAIN!
Earlier this year I was able to see firsthand the incredible way that Compassion are doing Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based work in Indonesia. You can see a summary of my blog coverage on this post.
THE PLAN THIS SUMMER? BUILD A TOILET BLOCK AND WATER TANKS AND MORE!!
What would it look like if Jesus were born tonight? In our time? In our context? UNTO US Films is a series of 3 short films exploring the Christmas story from this perspective.
Mary & Joseph were just a normal everyday young couple who had their whole life ahead of them.
The Shepherds were just normal down to Earth guys… working hard for their families… getting on with everyday life, they probably didn’t see themselves as the religious type.
The Magi were like special advisors… the senior scientists, politicians or professors of their day, who counselled their national leaders.
See the 3 short films below:
For the last 6 years I have been gradually building a digital library of Bible tools and other Christian books using Logos Bible Software. The thing I love above Logos is having access to my library anywhere and anytime. I use Logos on my mobile phone, tablet device and laptop. It has now become part of my regular preparation for preaching and personal reading.
I’m excited to announce a partnership with Logos. The basic platform is free to download, but it is worthwhile purchasing one of the base packages to really start to accessing the powerful tools. CLICK HERE to receive 15% off the base package.
For the next 2 weeks you can also enter to win THE WORKS OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD. Whitefield was an English Anglican Evangelist who saw incredible fruit while preaching Christ in the 1700s. I’ve read biographies of Whitefield before and am fascinated by the man and the way that God used him to save many. This collection includes biographies, sermons and other writings/correspondence.
See below to enter…
Last week I began a series on finishing school. I was hoping to have more posts online by now, but my writing flow was interrupted by an exhausting and encouraging week away with a group of 15 SOULIES crew who have just graduated from school. Stay tuned for more in the finishing school series and see soulies instragram for some pics from the schoolies trip.
In the meantime, I thought it was worthwhile highlighting one of the current sponsors of this blog…
Perhaps you’ve just finished school. You should consider being part of Year 13!
What’s Year 13? Here’s a blurb from their website…
Garage Hymnal have recently released a new album, Lowly. “Come One and All” is a lovely song with a really well-made animation on the film clip. Music by Garage Hymnal, words by Alanna Rodgers with adaptations from Christoph Von Schmid’s German Folk Song, “Oh Come Little Children”. Animation by Taste Media.
The Piano Guys create music and videos that inspire and uplift. They have just released a Christmas Album and video with one of the tracks, “Angels We Had Heard On High”. It’s good! You can see it and some other Christmas videos below. Find out more about them and their albums on their website. Enjoy.
So, you’ve finished school? Well done. It’s a massive achievement to stick at anything for 13 years. This may not have occurred to you at the age of 5 when you began school, but it’s a massive achievement nonetheless.
Make or Break
The first few months after you finish school can often be a make or break time for your Christian faith.
For some who have grown up in a Christian family this might be a time when they graduate from the church youth program and keep walking straight out the door as they graduate from Jesus too. It’s heart-breaking when that happens.
Conversely, it’s massively encouraging to see young crew graduate from high school and make godly decisions to keep following Jesus into adulthood.
This blog series is all about the “now what?” question. Most of your life has probably just happened up until this point. I’m not suggesting you have been totally unreflective and unthoughtful in how you’ve lived your life. But, in Australia at least, school is compulsory and you just roll with it until it’s over.
Now what? You have been on a trajectory for sometime out from your parents authority and increasingly taking responsibility for yourself. There are a bunch of questions you should ask yourself at this point.
- Why am I here?
- How will I spend my time?
- Do I really want to grow up?
- How will I use what I’ve got?
- What will I fight for?
- How will I hold myself?
How you answer these questions will shape how you live your life. The answers to these questions will answer the “now what?” question.
NOW WHAT? JESUS
I’ll be upfront. I believe Jesus should be central to each of these answers. So please follow along if you are a follower of Jesus or if you’re simply curious to see why Jesus might be so significant.
(IMAGE copyright Joel Coleman. Used by permission)