Of all the things I love about Christmas, the music might be at the top of my list. I’m a traditionalist, for the most part, and don’t like a lot of tampering with the old songs.
Recently the music video of a Christmas song has gone viral. I’m referring to “The Little Drummer Boy” performed by Pentatonix. This little carol has for the longest time been my favorite.
When I was young, and then when I had few monetary goods, I identified with the character in the story the song narrates. (And now, as I think about it, I have to wonder how much of my interest in the song when I was young had to do with the fact that it told a story. But that’s beside the point.)
Of course there’s a good helping of fantasy woven into the story. (Hmmm, there’s another reason why I might have been drawn to this song at an early age.) Nevertheless, it brings forward some critical aspects of the Christmas story.
One is that we are to worship, we are to bow down and sacrifice to the new born King. That Jesus is this King is a second, clear truth, central to the song. And third, God doesn’t despise the lowly, those with empty hands.
Of course, performance matters, which is one reason the Pentatonix version of “The Little Drummer Boy” has become so popular this month. With the rise in status of choirs brought on, in large part, by the TV program Glee, followed by Sing Off, the choral equivalent of American Idol, the viewing public was ready for a stunning performance at Christmas time of one of the traditional, but not often sung in church, songs about Jesus’s birth.
I think the Pentatonix rendition is amazing. Two of my friends, from very different circles, shared it on Facebook. More than 18,000,000 people have viewed it on YouTube. The group has also created a video of their performance of “Carol of the Bells,” with over 11,000,000 views, so maybe they are going to revive traditional Christmas music on their own.
As much as I love the old songs, I don’t mind new ones surfacing when they carry the gospel message through engaging music. Years ago Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, and Michael W. Smith performed Christmas songs, including some that were new.
Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God,” might be the best one I’ve heard though–and that was only once. A few years ago the radio broadcast Family Life Today played that song as part of their pre-Christmas programing. What a wonderful song about the “real meaning of Christmas.”
Would that “Behold the Lamb of God” would go viral.