I know you may have thought I was going to go with something like “Silent Night” or “Silver Bells,” and the truth is that I love them almost as much as my fave five. But there is no Christmas song… and I do mean no Christmas song…that does it for me quite like my number one.

And it’s not just any version of it, although some other versions still touch my heart. Basically, any other version simply makes me think of the one ultimate version. The song is, “Little Drummer Boy,” and the group who performed it is Whiteheart. Prepare to have your Christmas transformed forever by clicking here.

Like any great Christmas song, it starts off soft and magical, but part way through the song it crescendos into such power that it sweeps me into glorious celebration. Lest you think I jest or overdo it with this description, I assure you that I mean it from the depths of my soul. I get chill bumps and cry every single time I listen to this song.

There’s something about the focus being placed on recognizing Christ’s deity and majesty… about how deserving He is of our highest praise and honor… that captures my heart. Then there is the realization that we are so little and have so little to offer Him which could even come close to what He deserves. There, in that moment, we are struck with the reality that we will never be good enough on our own. We need a Savior. A Savior who understands what it’s like to be one of us. A Savior who would give His very best for His Heavenly Father.

All we have to offer Him is that which He has given us… those talents, those abilities, those gifts with which He has endued us. That is truly all we have to give Him, and yet, when we give our very best… though it does not scratch the surface of what He deserves… He smiles at us and accepts it as praise for who He is.

I am a poor boy, too… I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a King… Shall I play for You?… I’ll play my best for you… Then He smiled at me.

Gets… me… every… time.

All I want is to please Him. All I want is to one day stand before Him, have Him smile at me, and hear Him say those words, “Good job, bud! You did it! You took what I gave you and used it to honor Me. You obeyed Me. You stuck with Me all the way. Let’s celebrate together!”

That’s what this song screams at my heart and mind. Literally. When Rik Florian hits that high note, I come unglued. Can’t help myself. Play that song, give the altar call, I’m coming!

I don’t know if anyone will ever top this for me. I do know that For King & Country have just recently released a video of their version, and I must admit that it runs a very close second as far as putting the passion and energy into the song that it deserves. If you need to compare for yourself, click here.

So, perhaps you’re underwhelmed by my pick for number one. That’s okay. It’s my list. I hope you have your own. I hope you have songs that point you toward the love, joy and peace that Christ brought when He came to this earth over 2,000 years ago. I hope you have songs that draw you to Him. He is the reason for the season, and the songs of the season can help us remember that important fact if we will let them.

So, deck the halls… and ring the sleigh bells… ask for a hippopotamus… hang the mistletoe… roast the chestnuts… and whatever you do, O come, all ye faithful, to Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas, y’all! And I look forward to telling you Monday why today’s snow in our part of Louisiana was so significant…

If my trips to Israel have taught me anything, it is that I read the Bible with my westernized, Americanized, modernized thinking… and this probably causes me to not see what really happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem in all its power and truth. Yet, I don’t let what I’ve learned keep me from enjoying a good sugar cookie or setting up a wooden nativity barn. Instead, when I hear a song like my second favorite Christmas song, I let my mind travel back to those places I’ve visited as I let the singers tell me the story of the greatest birth ever in the way they know how.

My #2 top Christmas carol is of the modern variety. People have not been singing it for decades. In fact, many people may have never heard it. I’m obviously… and unashamedly… a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. So songs by other Christians about the Savior and Friend I love so very much are what I naturally gravitate toward. Since this song is by a Christian group and has not been out a really long time, I would not expect most people to know it.

The song is called, “Come And See What’s Happening In The Barn,” and it’s performed by the Gaither Vocal Band. You can listen to it by clicking here.

Now, we don’t know that Joseph and his virgin-yet-pregnant fiancee’, Mary, arrived in Bethlehem the night before Jesus was born. And we cannot confirm that there were inns, or hotels, like we know them. We can’t even confirm whether the stable was more like a barn, or more like a cave. But what we do know is that Jesus was born to common people… in a common setting… yet in a most uncommon way. The night He was born, strange and miraculous things took place. That’s what this song reminds me of.

About 2/3 of the way into the song is where it really takes on life for me. When the person letting them use his stable realizes something significant is happening, and the shepherds encounter an angelic army choir heralding their Master’s arrival, I start getting chill bumps all over, and tears begin to brim in the edges of my eyes. I can’t help myself.

Oh, to have been there! No doubt, I would have been like the shepherds, who went and told everyone they could about what they had just experienced. Who wouldn’t have? Listening to this song takes me back… not necessarily to the Church of the Nativity, nor the Shepherds’ Grotto, which are both amazing to visit… but it transports me back through the millennia to an evening in the Middle East when God changed history forever.

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series of Top 5 Christmas Carols, and that it has caused you to think of those songs which move your heart toward the Christ of Christmas. Tomorrow, I will share with you the one Christmas song that always brings tears of joy to my eyes and causes my heart to swell with love for Jesus every time I listen to it. What’s my overall, favorite, top Christmas Carol of all time ever in the whole universe? Come back tomorrow, and find out! 😜

Christmas is obviously a spiritual celebration. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the very Son of the living God, born through a teenage virgin more than 2,000 years ago in Israel. It is sacred… that moment when the infinite God wraps Himself in limited flesh and becomes Emmanuel, God with us. There is no explanation. It is simply miraculous.

Yet it is so easy in the hustle and bustle of this season that we forget that very spiritual incarnation. We forget that we travel to see family because Joseph and Mary returned to their family homeplace for the census. We forget that we give gifts because God gave us the gift of His Son. We tend to overlook the very reason for the season.

So, I love my 3rd all-time favorite Christmas carol because it always takes me back to that moment… that mystery… that miracle. This song is deeply spiritual, even though my favorite version of it is performed by someone who may or may not be a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s my favorite version because I have never heard another person sing it with such passion… such emotion… and such power. I am moved every time I hear it, and feel like I want to join an angel choir to declare once more how special and important the birth of that baby was and is for all of us. My 3rd all-time favorite Christmas carol is… “O, Holy Night” performed by Celine Dion. If you’ve heard it, you know, and you’ll click the link for sure. If you haven’t, and you doubt my estimation, go ahead and click here to see what I mean.

I know, I could have gone with “Ave Maria” performed by Harry Connick, Jr., or “Mary, Did You Know?” performed by Mark Lowry, but the night is holy because of Christ, and this song turns my heart toward Him in worship each time I listen to it. For that, it ranks pretty high on my list.

I suppose most of these could be rearranged in different positions on my list. I love Christmas music, and I’m not afraid to listen to it throughout the year at times not between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. And when I listen, you can rest assured that “O, Holy Night” makes the playlist.

Let’s remember and celebrate Him most this Christmas!

Have you noticed that people seem to smile more at this time of year? People actually look up from the screen in their hands and speak to each other… kindly. It’s because this season brings joy to the heart. And this season brings joy to the heart because Jesus brought joy to this world when He came to inhabit it like us.

So that’s why my fourth favorite Christmas carol is none other than… “Winter Wonderland.” It speaks of the fun, joyful element of Christmastime… sleigh rides, building snowmen, warm fires, being together. The Lord intends for us to live joyful lives year-round, and this song evokes that in my heart.

Now as a younger person… and admittedly still as a little older young person… I was particularly captivated by Stryper’s version of “Winter Wonderland.” But it’s not for the faint of heart, nor those looking for classic Christmas joy. Yet, if you enjoy, blazing guitar licks, drum solos, and guy’s in leather and spandex singing as high as ladies… and you’re feeling extra bold today, perhaps riding alone in your vehicle where you crank up the volume to 10 and break off the knob… just google it or search for it on YouTube.

Otherwise, you might want to check out my other favorite version of this song from Point of Grace, which is more mild and acceptable for playing in public places… like the office, or your kitchen. Don’t worry, this one features incredible harmonies as well… and all the vocals are actually performed by ladies. To enjoy this version, simply click here.

My hope is that just listening to this song will cause a smile to break across your face… not just your mouth, but into your eyes, and down to your very soul. This is the season to be reminded that Christ came to give us an abundant, joyful life. Let’s celebrate that as we celebrate Him this season!

Music makes the magic even more special at this time of the year. Take away the Christmas carols, and you take away some of what makes the holidays feel so wonderful. One song can bring back a flood of memories… sights, smells, tastes. And each person has their own favorites which they play year after year to make THE season THEIR season.

So, this week, I’m inviting you into part of what makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year for me by sharing what I consider to be the top five Christmas carols of my lifetime. I want to lift your spirits by bringing to mind, with these tunes, those tunes which make your Christmas merry and bright.

Now, technically, I’m not sure I can name a Christmas song I don’t like… so this was tough. In order to overcome the overwhelming task of narrowing it down, I just picked my fave in each of five categories. And so you can get the full effect, I’m going to include a link to the song so that you can listen to it for yourself and see what it’s like to have one of my earbuds in at Christmas.

NOTE: I’d love to hear what your favorite is in each category each day. Feel free to reply to a post or comment on the blog.

Today, we begin with my favorite classic Christmas song… #5 on the countdown to my all-time fave… Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas!” (Click here to listen.)

There is just something about that song that screams Christmas to me. Having spent six of my first seven Christmases in Minnesota, I know how great a white Christmas is. Having lived the rest of my life in the South, I know what it is to long for a white Christmas that does not include shorts and flip-flops. And to hear Bing croon that tune just makes me feel warm inside while I close my eyes and imagine a blanket of white covering the tops of everything outside.

I think for me, a white Christmas speaks to the “peace on earth” part of the Christmas account. There is something so quiet… so peaceful… when soft white flakes float from the sky in soft billows and collect on tree branches, covering the ground and insulating rooftops from the harsh world.

I don’t know if “White Christmas” is one of your top five Christmas songs, but you have to admit that when you hear it, it is undeniably Christmas-ish. So sit back, relax, close your eyes and take a listen. Then tell me what your favorite classic Christmas song is.

Tomorrow, my 4th favorite Christmas song falls into the “fun” category!

Twenty-two years ago today, I heard PR31 say to me, “I do!” And each day since then, I have watched her live out that commitment to love me.  She is my dream girl.  I would choose her every day of the week and twice on Sundays for the rest of my life.

Proverbs 31, from whence I drew her nickname, says that the virtuous woman’s husband blesses her publicly.  And so today’s post is that… my public proclamation that God blessed me with an amazing wife to share life with… and twenty-two years later, I’m so glad He did!

Angela  is my best friend, as well as being my sweetheart.  She listens to and lifts me.  She cheers me on and challenges me.  She nurtures and nudges me.

She is a woman of God.  Her passionate pursuit of Him makes me want to love both Him and her even more.

She makes me a better man… a better daddy… a better son… a better brother… a better friend… a better preacher.  I wouldn’t be the man I am without her in my life.

Her beauty is not only skin deep, though she is indeed gorgeous to look at. (She doesn’t even need makeup or fancy clothes to look pretty.) She is considerate of others’ feelings.  She gives generously… regularly. 

Her talents are off the charts to me.  She is one of those people who can make any recipe taste great… make any Pinterest craft more personal and special… make any trip more fun.

And yet for all her creativity, her practical skills are second to none.  She is the budget queen… homeschool teacher par excellence to our boys… and able to use the riding mower.

I’d keep going, but you probably can’t handle anymore.  And I could write ad nauseum about my love for her.  And when she reads this, she’ll think it was over the top… because she is also a woman of genuine humility.  See? I can’t help myself when it comes to her.

So, today, I celebrate twenty-two years of committed love between us… and commit again to the same for the rest of my life.  There’s no one else I’d rather take the journey of life with.

Thanks for loving me, Angela!  I love you like crazy… and I always will!!!