Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Most Peaceful Christmas Songs of All Time

In my previous post, I explained my theme this year for Christmas, which is peace.  Here is a list of the Christmas songs which sing of peace, be they Christian of origin, or written by those silly fluffy hippies we're all supposed to hate.

UPDATE: 11/7/13. I have fixed some of the broken videos. I have also compiled most of these songs, though not always the same versions, in a Spotify playlist you can subscribe to. The Most Peaceful Christmas Songs of All Time.

Starting with the hippiest hippy of them all, John Lennon, in Happy Xmas.

Bing Crosby & David Bowie sing Little Drummer Boy with additional lyrics:

A spoof of the last video by Will Ferrel, which is for the most part a word-for-word remake.  Until the end, where we see a little irony. (Not embedded, click link.)

And because the Internet is just one big spoof of itself, here is Jack Black:

Handel used the Bible as the primary source of lyrics for the Messiah.  The message of this song is clear.  It tells the story of the angels who came down to the Shepard.  When they were afraid, the angel calmed them, promising them peace on earth, good will to men.  This is the refrain I've had going through my head this season, any time I notice my cognitive dissonance surrounding the concept of peace.

Handel's "Glory to God":

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was one of my favorites to sing when I was a "sissy little girl".  There are a number of different melodies, so I've included several versions.  This song is all about peace, and how impossible the goal seems.  In despair I bowed my head, 'There is no peace on earth,' I said. 'For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men.'  It offers hope that right will prevail.

This first version is the one I grew up singing:

A rocked out version of the same melody done by a local church. I include it because its imagery ties it to modern events:

And a spiffy new version by Casting Crowns I'd not heard before:

Hark, here are those angels again. Peace on earth and mercy mild. As sung by Jewel.

I just discovered this song, this year.  Tim Minchin expresses some of my own conflicting feelings about this season, including the commercialism and mixed feelings about the Christian message.  What's important, to him and me, is the love of being with family.  White Wine in the Sun is one of my favorites on this list.

O Holy Night has a very peaceful melody. I almost did not include it because the first to verses speak of submission to God and hints at Christian superiority.  But the third verse encapsulates the message I espouse:

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.

In case you're in doubt that I wish to emphasize the peaceful elements of this song, I've included the John Denver version:

Still, Still, Still, performed by Manheim Steamroller:

While I was still Mormon, I loved Jars of Clay.  Here's a Christmas song of theirs I still have in my playlist. Love Came Down at Christmas:

An Atheist Christmas Carol by Vienna Teng:

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear brings us more peace on earth, by Sixpence None the Richer, who have done some of my favorite Christmas song performances:

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. The David Bowie and Bing Crosby is my favorite Christmas song.