Christmas Music: 12 Days of Horrible Christmas Music

Joy of Christmas

What’s the worst Christmas song? The one you dread hearing every Christmas season?

Well, On the first day of Christmas my true love . . .

I don’t think I need to say any more. Maybe it’s cause I’ve never had a true love or maybe it’s because most Christmas music is just so old and over done, I’ve always hated Christmas music. I’m the complete opposite of my sisters, who could start listening to the stuff on December 26th. I just find it repetitive and, well, a little cheesy.

I do love Christmas, so don’t judge me a Grinch!

Typically I spend Christmas season as far away from the radio as possible. When I shop (something I’m not big on either) I try to rush in and out, just to avoid the bad music and the crowds. I know I’m not alone.

But, please don’t call me Scrooge just yet!

Christmas music typically grinds on my ear drums because it seems so sappy. Christmas is about so much more than Santa and Rudolf. It’s not about finding love under the mistletoe. (Who wants to kiss under a parasitic plant?)

Christmas is about giving love, being patient, and spending time with the family. Christmas is a joyful time. It’s about Jesus. How he came to live with us. He is a reason for hope and joy. So, it bugs me when the real reason for the season is trivialized.

Which seems to happen every December. All of a sudden the radios start playing Bing Crosby, and asking me to buy the right gift so I will feel happy. And before I know it, a season meant for joy has gotten me down. Johnny Marks and Bing Crosby’s songs just don’t speak to me. One’s too somber and the just rubs me the wrong way.

However, as hypocritical as it may sound, I love Christmas movies. Maybe it’s because they aren’t all up in your ears all the time, being super obnoxious. Singing things like “Have a Holly, Jolly, Christmas,” or “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love Rudolph, and one of my favorite Christmas memories is singing “Run, run, Rudolph” into the long telephone cord (it was my makeshift microphone), but Christmas isn’t a time to be somber, no matter what’s hapend during the year. It’s a time for real joy and so most Christmas music has always got me irked.

So, I typically get into the Christmas spirit by watching classic Christmas movies or drinking gallons of eggnog.

Until this year.

Just as Scrooge changed. Just as the Grinch’s heart grew. I underwent a transformation.

On December 4th I started liking . . . no, loving . . . Christmas Music. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve been listening to it non-stop for over a week.

Maybe, like Scrooge and the Grinch my heart just needed a little push to grow.

My push was bluegrass Christmas Music. I’ll be honest, I still can’t take the Bing Crosby stuff, but the Pandora bluegrass Christmas station has really set me in a joyful mood for Christmas.

No, that does not mean love and romance, but peace and giving. Spending time with my family. Not worrying about how much I spend on presents, but who I am spending my presence with.

The bluegrass music I’ve been listening to isn’t shy about Christ being the reason for our celebrations. Maybe that’s the difference. Each song seems to bring the sounds of true joy, and I’ve needed that.

Here are a few of the Christmas Albums I’ve fallen in love with over the last week, enjoy:

WindHam HIll: Holliday Guitar Collection

Windham Hill

Christmas Grass: A Celebration of Christmas, Bluegrass Style

Christmas Grass

Christmas Grass 2

Christmas Grass 2

Winter’s Solstice III

Winter's Solstice III

Christmas by Mannheim Steamroller


Christmas In The Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountain Christmas

David Grisman’s Acoustic Christmas

Acoustic Christmas

Putumayo Presents – A Jazz & Blues Christmas

A Jazz & Blues Christmas

And so as the standard bluegrass Christmas song says, “Christmas Time’s A Comin'” and I am loving every moment of it, including the joyous sounds!

Mighty To Save

If you have ever talked to me in person, or read any of my blogs, you know I drone on and on about how I taught PE at the Inter-American School in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala from 2008-2011.  It was truly a life changing experience.  As the gym teacher, I saw my job as twofold, first to challenge the kids athletically, but also to challenge them spiritually.  I can’t speak for how God used me to work in my students lives, but I do know God used them to constantly challenge me.

When I moved back to Colorado last June, I was not the same person who flew down to Guatemala in August of 2008.

I’d become more of the man God created me to be.

I think a big part of my change was opening my heart to my students and letting God work through them.  And so this last week I had the chance give back to them in return.  My dad (Also known as The Rev. Dr. E. C. Scott), Mike and Stacey Davis, and I flew down to Guatemala to lead a Spiritual Emphasis Week for all my students.   My prayer going into the trip was that God would open the hearts of my students and that my heart would remain open to all He had for me.

On the first day my heart melted during all school chapel.

The video above is from one of our all school chapels.  Listen to it with an open heart.  Watch the video and listen for the truth in the lyrics and the passion in the voices.

Almost a year after moving away, I was moved to tears when I saw all of my students and  heard them belt out, “My Savior, he can move the mountains.”

My God is mighty to save.

He is Mighty to save.

Remember, God calls us to be like little children.  Maybe we need to sing with the passion and confidence these little kids sang with.  Our God is the author of salvation.

I wrote this blog for a blog my church is doing during the season of Lent.  Join the Pascha community for daily devotionals and reflections on how God has moved in our lives through art, song, and nature.  You can find the blog by clicking here.  Enjoy!

IAS Class of 2016 Presents: How To Make A Music Video

Back in 2011, as my time in Guatemala was wrapping up, as well as the school year, I wanted to create a special memory with one of my favorite classes (Truthfully, all of my classes were my favorite). But the class of 2016 was special, which is why I asked them if they wanted to do a special project.  I wanted my students to do something fun and challenging, I wanted them to make a music video.

I was born in 1984, right in time for MTV to take over my life.  Thankfully, I guess this depends on your own opinion, back then MTV still aired music videos, and not the trashy reality television it shows today.  I mean I know we all care about what snooky does, but man, I miss the music.  I miss the videos.

Ok, to be honest, my family never had cable so I didn’t watch MTV all that often, but whenever I was over at my Grandpa’s house (he had cable), I would sneak in a little VH1 or MTV.  My favorite videos were always, and I guess they still are, the ones that tell a story. Ok, there are still a few good music videos out there.  You can check out Coldplay’s Paradise video if you want an example.

Sadly, it seems like the art of a good music video has been lost.  Now, it’s all about the money and sex.  To quote the Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the love?”

And so, I set out, with my class, to make a good meaningful music video.  One that was clean with a message.

Like all good teachers, I let my students think they had come up with the idea for a music video, participation is much easier when the participants believe it’s their idea.  They ate up my challenge to think up something fun.  Really, it wasn’t hard to convince a class full of girls that dancing is the coolest thing ever, plus almost anyone would rather dance than sit in a classroom and read (not that reading is boring, but we are talking about middle schoolers here).

The hard part was coming up with the right song.  I had to insert a couple of ground rules for the song, it had to be clean and share a message, which nullified many of my student’s favorite songs.

It’s amazing how dirty most pop songs are, when you actually listen to the lyrics.  I’m still not sure what Fergie meant in her song “London Bridge.” (And no, I’m not going to give you a link for her video, it’s disgusting.)

After a couple of days of heated discussion, we finally landed on a Jessie J song.  Price Tag!

Like all great teachers, I had to compromise with my students.  All they wanted to do was dance and me, I wanted to tell a story.  As a class we’d come up costume and prop ideas, but as they choreographed the dance and I picked out our filming locations, the props and costumes just didn’t get made.

If you want props and costumes, make sure you enlist someone who doesn’t have tons of homework, either to grade or to complete.  And so it proved to be too difficult to do props and costumes, which also forced us to drop the story.  Making a complex music video wasn’t anything we had in us.

What we did have, were some crazy laughs, lots more takes than any director would care to film, a couple of tense moments (like when I sent one of the kids in to the library to grab some batteries for my camera and he came out with my external hard drive for my computer), and a blast of a time.

And for the next 6 months the semi-unedited footage above, sat on my computer compiling data dust.  I didn’t know what to do.  I knew my iMovie skills wouldn’t be good enough to edit the footage together and add music on over top.  So when my students asked, “Have you started,” or “is it finished yet?” I avoided their questions.

I really didn’t want to complete it and make it look lame.  I love those kids too much to make them look bad, but I also didn’t want them to think I was putting them off.  And so a couple of weeks ago I finally asked my friend Drew to help me finish off the music video.  Two hours later it was done!  It sure helps to have final cut pro.

Now, I am pleased to present the IAS class of 2016 hit video of the year: