Ken’s Christmas Music Favorites

Christmas Music: In No Particular Order, A Few of My Favorites, and Why

By Ken K. Gourdin

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

From personal experience, I know that others – particularly the young – tend to ostracize those who are different in any way. I can relate to the ridicule Rudolph endures at the beginning of the song, but I like how he persists and eventually wins over those who were his detractors in the beginning.

The Little Drummer Boy

As the Omnipotent, Omniscient Lord of the Universe, Christ doesn’t need any of my puny, insignificant gifts or offerings, any more than He needed the Little Drummer Boy’s modest performance. He can definitely do better than anything I might have to offer. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once wryly observed, “Imperfect, mortal, fallible human beings are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it.” That said, the Little Drummer Boy’s offering to God may not have been much in the eyes of some (after all, all he could do for the Savior was play his drum the best he could), but however imperfect or inadequate anything is that I might have to offer, I take Little Drummer Boy as God’s assurance to me that even my puny, insignificant offerings are still acceptable to Him.

Here Comes Santa Claus

I am told that when I was but a wee tot, I liked to sing this even for some of my very first Christmases on this planet. According to one source, Gene Autry got the idea for the song while riding his horse in the 1946 Hollywood Christmas parade and hearing spectators chant, “Here comes Santa Claus.” In an increasingly secularized society, I like the song’s overt, unapolog references to Deity in a song that, at least somewhat, has gained secular acceptance how Santa “knows we’re all God’s children” and how “Peace on earth will come to all if we just follow The Light” (see 3 Nephi 18:24 in The Book of Mormon, available here:

Silent Night

One of my fondest memories of Herr Karl Swan’s German classes, which I took in Eighth and Ninth Grade, was learning the text to this hymn in its original German (Stille Nacht). Here’s the first verse: “Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht! Alles schläft; einsam wacht Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar. Holder Knab’ im lockigen Haar, |: Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!”

Joy To The World

I say, hasten the day described in the second verse: “No more will sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He’ll come and make the blessings flow far as the curse was found, far as the curse was found, far as, far as the curse was found.”

I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day

I love the evolution in the text from despair to optimism, engendered by Him Who Is Our Hope. Our best hope – in many cases, our only hope – rests in Christ.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

I like this song’s unapologetic reference, despite its acceptance in an increasingly secular world, to the real reason for the season: Christ wasn’t simply a great teacher or a profound philosopher; He is, literally, our Savior and Redeemer. From what? From the power of an Adversary who wishes us absolutely no good thing. “Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray.”

The First Noel

I like its description of how the shepherds followed the star. It’s a terrific metaphor for how we, too, can find peace in this often-turbulent life: “They looked up, and followed a star, shining in the east, beyond them far. And to the earth, it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night.” We, too, need to look up and follow the Light. Incidentally, I like Michael McLean’s I Cannot Find My Way/Three Kings from The Forgotten Carols for the same reason, as well.

Handel’s Dream

Also from McLean’s Forgotten Carols, the song tells the imagined tale of Georg Friedrich Handel’s (alas, failed) audition for the choir that would announce Christ’s birth and how, although he felt all of the wonderful emotion relative to that supernal event, he couldn’t get that feeling to come out in his voice. In offering him consolation, the choir director assures him that he has “a different voice” and that “centuries from now, more choirs than [he] can possibly imagine will give [his] music a voice that will echo through time.”


In yet another selection from The Forgotten Carols, I love this song’s reminder that no matter how humble our own circumstances, the Lord of the Universe was born into mortality in the humblest of all possible humble circumstances. If we wonder where we’re going to sleep tonight, He, too, said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 9:20). And it reminds us that whatever struggles we have finding an earthly home, what Christ did for us ensures that we will have a Heavenly Home.


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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