Today’s Praise: Christmas albums: Praise, joy and adoption
Check most kids’ Christmas lists and you’ll find Xbox 360, a skateboard or a puppy.
Check an orphan’s list and you’re likely to find something else, said Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman.
“If you could ask them, ‘What do you really want most?’ … They would say: ‘All I really want is a family,’ ” said Chapman, who has adopted three daughters from China in recent years.
In his new album, “All I Really Want For Christmas,” Chapman describes an orphan’s letter to Santa, asking for “someone to tuck me in, a shoulder to cry on.” The song, “All I Really Want” is touching, humble and hopeful.
“It did give me a chance to acknowledge something that’s near and dear to my heart: the fact that there are 50 million children who spend that day without a family,” Chapman said.
Appropriately, the disc opens with a recitation of the Christmas story by Shaoey Chapman — the first daughter Steven and his wife, Mary Beth, adopted from China.
The new CD is Chapman’s second Christmas project in recent years, the last being “Christmas Is All In The Heart,” a 2002 CD created for sale only at Hallmark stores. Because of its limited nature, “most of my fans didn’t know about that album.” For the new disc, he took some material from the 2002 CD and added some new music.
“I love these new recordings and I’m sure there are a lot of people who haven’t heard them,” Chapman said.
The disc is packed with wonderful renditions of classic Christmas tunes. Chapman’s voice is ideally suited for traditional orchestral arrangements as well as pop takes on classic songs, such as “Angels From The Realms of Glory.” Other standards include “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day” and a gospel-oriented “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
A treat for longtime fans is a new version of Chapman’s own classic “Christmas Is All In The Heart,” featuring country star Vince Gill.
The disc wraps up with Shaoey and Steven singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” This solid album certainly goes a long way toward answering that wish.
‘Christmas Sessions’Chapman is currently on a Christmas concert tour with the worship band MercyMe, which also has a new holiday disc.
“The Christmas Sessions” contains traditional carols and songs set to new arrangements. It swings from the bluesy “Winter Wonderland” to the easy-listening “Christmastime Is Here” to “Drummer Boy” — a solid rock track that’s the best on the disc. Unfortunately, many of the styles don’t quite mesh with the lyrics, which makes this disc somewhat disappointing.
‘Adore Him’One holiday disc that does an excellent job of blending style and content is “Come Let Us Adore Him.”
This compilation album features many of contemporary Christian music’s top artists performing mellow pop and traditional songs.
Teen singer Krystal Meyers and Day of Fire frontman Josh Brown team for the praise song “King of Angels.” Other standouts are the upbeat “Silver Starlight,” by Cliff and Danielle of Caedmon’s Call, and an acoustic version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” by Jars of Clay. One of the best tracks is the thankful “Manger Throne,” in which rockers Third Day take an acoustic turn.
This disc brings the awe and majesty of the season to life.
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears on the Religion page.