“Guide Us To Thy Perfect Light”

One of my favorite Christmas songs is We Three Kings. Written about the same time as Jingle Bells, these lyrics and tune are different than the sleighing song and originally intended for church and religious plays. Based on the Biblical account of the wise men traveling to worship Baby Jesus, the song focuses on the symbolism of the three gifts that they brought.

Today, we’ll explore some of the history of the song’s writer and the historical information behind the lyrics and tune. Continue reading

Glory To The Newborn King

Angels are prominently featured in many traditional Christmas songs, celebrating their message to the shepherds outside Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’s birth. One of the most beloved of these traditional songs is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

But did you know that it wasn’t originally written about angels and the word change prompted quite a controversy between two prominent preachers of the 18th Century? Continue reading

O Christmas Tree!

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One of the best things about being a musician during the holiday season is playing music from all over the world and with many different background stories. There are some songs that clearly belong to a particular country, but then there are others that many nations have borrowed (or stolen) to make their own…all in good cheer, of course.

Today’s featured carol is international in its history and the tune has been used for many, many songs on many different occasions. If you love Christmas trees, then today’s song might be one of your favorite holiday carols. Continue reading

Away In A Manger

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Once upon a time, most little children in church or Sunday School learned this song – often lisping the simple tune with hand motions. It’s a sweet song about the historical event of Baby Jesus’s arrival and manger bed, but there’s a big myth about the origins about the lyrics.

“Away In A Manger” – the featured song of the day has it’s own unique and controversial history. Who knew a child’s song could have so much interesting information in it’s creation and background?

Continue reading

If Only In My Dreams…

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that most people want to be home or with loved ones for the December holidays. Historically (and in the modern era), that isn’t always possible.

One Christmas song recorded in 1943 addressed that reality with touching nostalgia. It’s a sympathetic song without getting depressing or too melancholy. It comes from the World War II era (joining another hit song – “White Christmas”) in a treasury of historical songs from the mid-20th Century that are still played and enjoyed.

Today – as the second song in the 2016 series You’re Singing History – we present “I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams).” Continue reading

Angels We Have Heard On High

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Today, we’ll start our December 2016 Historical Theme of the Month “You’re Singing History” with a new look at a wonderfully glorious song and its interesting origins. In case you’re a new reader, we did run “You’re Singing History” last year with other Christmas carols. It was so much fun we decided to do it again this year with a new set of holiday songs! (Check the archive for December 2015’s featured songs…)

There are many wonderful Christmas carols, but one of my all-time favorites is “Angels We Have Heard On High.” We’ll kick-off the holiday season with this energetic tune. What’s the history behind the song? Where did it come from? Read on to find out! Continue reading