Having a merry musical Christmas


You'd think there would only be so many ways a musician can rearrange, reproduce and repackage a Christmas song, but this season brings another round of traditional carols from your favorite artists. Depending on your musical styles preferences, there are a lot of choices to add to your holiday collection (see the list below), but for something completely different, check out these new releases:

"Do You See What I See?"
Todd Agnew & Friends (Ardent/INO)
This album of original music is a deep reflection on the Christmas story, telling the story of Christ's birth from the perspective of those involved, including the innkeeper, Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, and of course, Joseph. In typical Todd Agnew form, this wasn't a quick holiday project, but the result of six months of intense Bible study. Also appearing on the album are Joy Whitlock, Vince Lichlyter, Christy Nockels, Shelley Jennings, Mike Weaver, Anthony Evans and Michael O'Brien. Todd hopes you'll use the album as a Christmas devotional, really taking time to reflect on the Bible stories as you delve deeper into God's word.

"A Chipmunk Christmas" 25th Anniversary DVD/CD
Alvin and the Chipmunks (Paramount)
There's nothing that says Christmas quite like Alvin, Simon and Theodore's "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." In 1958, down to his last few dollars after buying a tape recorder to experiment with voice recording, Ross Bagdasarian developed the famous singing trio and song, spawning three generations of fans and creating a perennial holiday favorite. His son, Ross Jr., and wife Janice Karman took over the project when Ross Sr. passed away almost 35 years ago and remain the husband and wife team behind the project to this day. They are committed to carrying on Ross Sr.'s desire to use the Chipmunks to model good character values, including honesty, compassion and loyalty. While the cartoon technology may have changed since the Chipmunks came to life almost 50 years ago and the story lines modernized a bit to be relevant to today's viewers, Alvin, Simon and Theodore are still role models for fans of all ages. (And I'm still waiting for my hula hoop.)

"Christmas Treasures: A McPherson Guitars Instrumental Collection"
Various artists (Autumn Records)
From the maker of the renowned McPherson Guitar comes a collection of instrumental carols performed by today's leading Christian guitarists, including Phil Keaggy, Mark Baldwin, Dave Cleveland, Bruce Gaitsch, Tom Hemby, Michael Hodge, Michael Ripoll and Matt McPherson, creator of the McPherson guitar. The guitar work is showcased against a backdrop of piano, Irish whistle, percussion, strings and more.

Also available this holiday season:
"An Irish Christmas," Moya Brennan (EMICMG/Sparrow)

"Fresh Cut Christmas," George Strait, available exclusively at Hallmark Gold Crown stores

"Christmas Offerings," Third Day (Essential)

"Celebrating Christmas," Hillsong (Integrity)

"The Christmas Hope," Newsong (Integrity)

"The Nativity Story: Sacred Songs," Various artists (Word/New Line Records)

"A Timeless Christmas," Israel and New Breed (Integrity)

"Snow," Go Fish (Word Distribution)

"Bethlehem, House of Bread," Annie Moses Band (Man Alive Records)

"Gloria EP," Hawk Nelson (Tooth & Nail)

"Mary Mary Christmas," Mary Mary (Columbia)