I love Christmas music. In our family we *gasp!* always started listening in November every year, because no one in South Africa celebrates Thanksgiving and summer holidays start the first week of December. (This means you’ve been in a Christmas play and covering cardboard Christmas trees in green glitter for a month by the time December rolls around). I love Christmas music. Sometimes you need sparkly sounding jingle bells or some classic Michael W. Smith.
But something I’ve got into more recently is Advent music–music that captures the hope and the sadness, the waiting and the longing that is Advent. Here are some of my favorites, and you can get them ALL FOR FREE on Noisetrade.com This site is an awesome brainchild of one of our favorite artists, Derek Webb, because (speaking of fair wages and all that) did you know artists get basically nothing for having their songs played on Pandora or Spotify? And besides, even when you buy songs from iTunes (which is great!) the places that artists really make the most is concerts.
So on Noisetrade, you give your zipcode to the artist, and they give you their songs for free. They suggest an optional tip amount (usually less than what it would cost on iTunes anyway), and ask you to tweet about it if you like it…but that’s it. You’re getting awesome music and small artists are able to grow their fan-base…also, often artists will share 3-5 songs for free, and if you like it, you can buy their whole album on iTunes. So… discover some new favorites, and enjoy!
My List of FREE Advent Songs:
The Calendar Years: The first song is my favorite: “Everlasting Son Incarnate stoops to be himself a servant… to set his people free.” Super chill and folksy on the whole. I also love “Lift up your heads rejoice! the Kingdom draweth nigh”. So happy.
The Advent Project: This isn’t just music, it’s a full liturgy for each Sunday in Advent (readings, prayers, music). David and I love A New Liturgy, which comes out of the same group (Willow Creek Assoc.) — they have a liturgy for work which we really love to wake up in the morning to.
In Quiet: Hymns of Advent and Christmas: Instrumental music written to be played during a time of quiet and prayer in an advent service, these are beautiful and contemplative.
Thin Places Christmas (live): If you like Mumford and Sons, you’ll like their sound. Just the title of their song “Our God is Hungry” tells you that their lyrics are poetic and beautiful. “Holy scandal, heaven’s gamble, born so lowly, wordless word… Holy Holy, Our God is Hungry, God is with us..”.
Don’t know where to start?
Merry Christmas, Good Night. If you’re looking to discover new artists, this is a great place to start. It was from this sampler that I discovered Garett Viggers and the Thin Places Band.
On my list to listen to next:
The Many Advent Album. Anything that has this in the description sounds right up my alley: “The new songs in this collection, written for Advent & Christmas, speak of both faith and doubt, despair and hope, lament and longing. Many of them came out of reflection on The Magnificat, Mary’s song from Luke 1, and the story of Jesus’ birth, and how those words from so long ago resonate with our current headlines, how, like so many on our planet today, Jesus was born without privilege or power or even a welcoming bed”.
Of course, what’s Advent music without Advent reflections?! You can still get my kindle book of Advent Thoughts: 5 thoughts per week with reflection questions leading up to Christmas for just $3.99 on Amazon! 🙂