December 2010


One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Christmas in the Trenches” by John McCutcheon (see video below). As a young adult around this time of year, one of my sisters or I would ask to hear it, and my dad would alternately fast forward and rewind the tape he had the song on until it was found, and we would silently listen to it. I’m sure there are political undertones that could be taken from the lyrics, but that’s far from what I take from it. As I’ve listened to it this year through the gift of YouTube, I’ve thought of two things:

  1. It has reminded me of the many men and women who are away from home this Christmas, and even those who have met the same situation in times past, serving in the armed forces. I am thankful for them and their families and the sacrifices they make on my behalf, and I pray for their safe return.
  2. Christmas is truly about God sending Jesus to bring peace on earth by crushing the power of sin and death, which he has. And yet that peace will be fully realized when Jesus returns a second time to set all things right and rid the world of sin once and for all. May we long for the glorious second coming of Jesus as we remember his humble first coming.

1Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
4But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
6And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
7Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:1-9

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In a last second moment of Christmas generosity, the girls and I decided to give away TWO copies of Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies! Elaine and Lena both chose one name from their Chicago Cubs hat this morning, and the winners are:

Kelli Sherry and Mel!

It sounds like you already have the CD, Mel, so have fun giving it away, and, Kelli, we hope you and your family enjoy the silliness and seriousness as much as we do. If you didn’t win, just follow the links in the original post to purchase any of the CDs mentioned.

And thanks to everyone for the music suggestions. I have heard good bit of Seeds Family Worship, and our girls enjoy their music a lot too. I’ll have to check out the other ones, though – I’m sure they’re great.

I think one of the most underrated gifts for young kids is good music. “And why is a quality CD a great gift for a young child?” you ask. Well…

  1. Music is something you share. Our kids are too young to have personal music players, so when we listen to music, we listen as a family. It brings us together as we all sing along in the van, dance around in our home, or simply hum along to the songs we love.
  2. Music teaches. Whether it’s the truth of the gospel or simply the beauty of the art of music, kids learn when they listen to music.
  3. Music creates memories. I have many memories from my childhood that are tied to music. Whether it’s the CD we listened to every vacation or the record we played every Christmas while decorating the tree, listening to those musical collections bring back sweet memories.
  4. CDs are small. Not everyone has a space problem in their home, but I love giving my kids CDs because they don’t take up too much physical space. And if I could make the jump from CDs to MP3s, I’d save even more space!

I’m sure I could give more reasons that I enjoy giving my kids the gift of music CDs, but let me instead tell you some of my favorite kids CDs. Our entire family enjoys these selections because they aren’t annoying, they are musically well done, they are fun to listen to, and I like what they communicate to my children. I though this might be a timely post as Christmas approaches, and I also thought it would be fun to do the first giveaway I’ve ever done on this blog. So if you leave a comment here on the blog, maybe listing your favorite kids CD or just saying you want the free one, you’ll be eligible to win (Facebook readers, just click through to the original post). Next Friday (12/10), I will randomly choose a winner to receive a copy of Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson’s Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies CD. I’ll get it to you before Christmas so you can choose keep the CD for yourself or give it away. Good luck!

Sovereign Grace Ministries produces some of the best in modern worship music. Their songs are biblically based, theologically rich, and musically enjoyable. This CD, intended for children, is a worship experience for adults and children alike. The entire CD is about the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, and while there are great applicational points in the lyrics, what I most appreciate about the CD is its focus on the fact that God in Christ is the ultimate embodiment of the fruit of the Spirit. I am constantly led to worship Christ more through the truths in these songs, and the lyrics have even helped me in teaching my children about kindness, self-control, and more. You can listen to samples and purchase the CD by clicking here.

I first heard about this CD over at The Rabbit Room and finally purchased it this past August for Lena’s birthday. I think it is just plain fun to listen to, mixing amusing, true to life lyrics with top-notch music. Seriously, the musicianship on this CD is great. While I am still learning about the nuances of jazz music, each track embodies a different “brand” of jazz music. So if you like jazz music and songs about naps, bellybuttons, and juice, you’ll like this CD. Head over here and you’ll see links for buying the CD (only $10) and even for getting 2 free songs!

I first received Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies for Christmas for myself – I let the girls listen to it though. I’ve always been a fan of Andrew Peterson, and I really enjoy what he and Randall Goodgame have done on this CD – it’s a great mixture of silliness and seriousness and everything in between. As a dad, it is encouraging to hear two dads sing about how much fun they have with their kids, how much they love their kids, and how much they want their children to embrace the truth of the gospel as they have. The new Slugs and Bugs Christmas CD, which was primarily done by Randall and just released last week, has that same great mix, making you laugh out loud on one track and having you contemplating the miracle of Christmas on the next. And just so you won’t say I didn’t warn you – “The Camel Song” has a tremendous knack for getting stuck in your head. Check out the full Slugs and Bugs website here, where you can listen to music samples in the player at the top right. You can buy the CDs from this site or from The Rabbit Room store. Or maybe you’ll win the first one!

Well, those are my current favorite kids CDs, all guaranteed to be completely devoid of all the annoying features you might associate with kids music.