Something a little different for your Christmas music listening

I bloodorangesenjoy Christmas music, from the sacred to the silly (give Rudy Red a listen), and I am always looking for something new each season. One of my all time favorite albums is “A Broken Christmas” from 1988. The name comes from the now defunct(?) CCM label “Broken Records” and features songs by some of my all-time favorite artists: Gene Eugene, Adam Again, Riki Michele, OJO, 441, and others. I was thrilled to find it on iTunes.

A husband and wife duo that have been producing music just as long is Over the Rhine. Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist write complex and challenging lyrics that are also beautifully composed. Nothing simple or sappy here. Their latest (of three) holiday albums is Blood Oranges in the Snow. While most of the songs were not written by the couple, the album is a tender and reflective look at this season that can be full of darkness and yet possessing hope as well. (Be sure to read their own essay about the album.) For example, the third song “’My Father’s Body’ acknowledges the empty seat at the table.” I will not get too maudlin, but the lyrics are poignant, the penultimate verse reading

My father’s body lies beneath the snow
And I’m still learning how to let him go
I’ve come to know him better since he’s gone
And often wondered if or how I could’ve been a different
Better son

The shortened days, the colder air all remind us (at least in the northern hemisphere) of the natural order of things. We are born, we live, and as surely as the days grew shorter so does our time above this earth. Yet Advent reminds us of the coming of God in flesh; the birth and rebirth that comes with spring. The song “Let it Fall” is the one that prompted me to write this brief review. Detweiler writes,

“Let It Fall” was inspired by a few words that our friend Melanie Ciccone included in an email to us. She wrote something about rain and leaves and tears falling with “confidence and grace.” How could a songwriter ignore such a sentiment?

Indeed, how can any of us ignore the importance of letting go. We remember those that lie beneath the snow, those with whom we still harbor resentment and with whom we will no doubt fight around the Christmas dinner, but ultimately we need to let it fall “with confidence and grace.”

Have you been trying too hard

Have you been holding too tight

Have you been worrying too much lately

All night

Whatever we’ve lost

I think we’re gonna let it go

Let it fall

Like snow

‘Cause rain and leaves

And snow and tears and stars

And that’s not all my friend

They all fall with confidence and grace

So let it fall, let it fall

Have you been carin’ too much

How this one ends

Y’know it’s not the kind of fight

That you lose or win

When you’re down so low

You feel the imprint of the ground

On skin

Look around

Breathe in

‘Cause rain and leaves

And snow and tears and stars

And that’s not all my friend

They all fall with confidence and grace

So let it fall, let it fall

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