I will give you the long versions of each one here in the body of my piece just so I don’t have to give the NOQ Report gatekeepers any reason to edit my headlines. Besides certain churches that do focus on the church calendar will not quite box the Christmas music just yet.
MDYK = “Mary Did You Know”
I hate the current Contemporary Christian Music, and I hate the Contemporary Worship as well, but certain songs are going to have to co-exist with the John Rutters, G.F. Handels, and the J.S. Bachs of the world. Some of so-called modern Christmas carols and songs including Harry Moses Simeone and Katherine Kennicott Davis “Little Drummer Boy” and one song that historical church musicians love to hate “Mary Did You Know.” I will agree that Mark Lowry is not a great musician or songwriter, but hey it is a decent song. I loved it when it first came out, and originally it came out as a single by Michael English in the spring of 1992. Not the Christmas standard it now has become.
Some of my favorite performers that have recorded the song including New Zealand’s Hayley Westenra and a duet by Kenny Rodgers and Wynonna Judd. For all the hatred Jonathan Aigner has for “Mary Did You Know” he will allow that song to be performed at the church where he serves as director of music every three years. Lowry wrote MDYK at a time where I could still enjoy CCM, and English’s record of it was great for a Christian pop song. Loved the ambient sound which the Kenny Rodgers/Wynonna version perfected on. It is too late to kill the popularity of MDYK. Even the now popular a capella group Pentatonix did their own take on the song from their second-holiday release (including a previous EP Xmas project) put out in 2014. But hey we shall still do “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful/Adeste Fideles.”
I just want to know what some of these fans of “real” church music think of “Somewhere In My Memory” being used as part of a pre-Christmas eve service? It was done at the church I am currently attending regularly, and they are part of the historical worship faction.
TCS = “The Christmas Shoes”
OK, this song is not as bad as Aigner claims. This song from the beginning chokes me up that I almost cry (that and “Believe” which Josh Groban recorded for the movie “The Polar Express”). For someone who lost both parents right after the holidays and on Christmas Day itself, I can relate to “The Christmas Shoes.”
The fight for a return to historical worship is going to be a long fight. What might hinder it, is the people that admit to what their tastes in church music are. Sadly that admittance to personal tastes is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. I give Aigner credit for pointing out scripture references and its meat, but even he shows his musical preference card. Everyone should own up to it, but not use it for a reason to kick out the “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Mary Did You Know” in favor of “Gabriel’s Message.” In many places, they are going to and must co-exist. I do love “Gabriel’s Message” especially the recording done by Sting who was best known as the bassist and lead vocalist for the rock band The Police.
It would be better to kick out year around songs like “Our God” and “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” and bring back “A Mighty Fortress,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The former songs are likely to have a short shelf life as with previous contemporary songs like “Spirit Song” (used as the theme of Pastor Chuck Smith’s radio teaching program “The Word for Today”) and “Humble Thyself (In Sight of the Lord).”
“It’s somber and a little menacing, melodically. It’s the one I used to sing when 1) my voice was shot, and 2) when I knew there’d be a lot of older folks in the congregation. Old folks love to feel guilty for Christmas. IE, what happens when you give a Christian comedian a microphone for too long.” – Mike C.
“Every time someone sings “Mary, Did You Know” an angel rolls his eyes. And I die a little inside.” – Yours Truly (sorry)