I've been enjoying some Christmas music and wanted to pass it on.
Zec 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
IanO mentioned the lump in the throat Christmas carols can give us believers: I remember my first Christmas as a believer, tears streaming down my face as I listened to the same carols I'd heard all my life but was really hearing for the very first time, knowing them true. Later, there was another new believer, a guy in his thirties or so, dissolved in tears at the Christmas party as we were all singing the carols. This music is truth, happiness, tears of joy.
Even if you aren't a Christian you can enjoy them. But listen to the words. Really listen to them. Or read them as the case may be. Christmas carols preach the gospel. They are full of traditional theology, lots of what we argue about at EvC.
This is just some electronic music and the written words. I felt like quoting and bolding a few lines that seem to me to be full of meaning.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Saviorâ€™s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Christ, by highest Heavâ€™n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord; Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virginâ€™s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail thâ€™incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
â€œFear not, then,â€ said the angel, â€œLet nothing you afright This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright, To free all those who trust in Him from Satanâ€™s power and might.â€
And here is an online Handel's Messiah. This online one is not the best production but still ecstatic music in my opinion. Seems to me nothing short of the arrival of God on earth could inspire such music.
Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
I'd be careful about the "Christ" narrowness though. Religions other and older than Christianity inspired most of the world's music, and human cultures invented music millenia before Christianity existed.
OK, I'll challenge you: You'd be hard pressed to produce examples of very good music, let alone even ONE truly sublime piece of music, something comparable to Bach, in praise of God in any other religion.
Handel has been oversentimentalized and overpopularized, but I simply avoid all the sentimentalizations. The music itself is not sentimental in the least, and the lyrics being nothing but scripture add to the goose bumps for a believer.
This message has been edited by Faith, 12-25-2005 10:11 PM
I believe it is simple fact, not bigotry at all. Christ has been the inspiration of the greatest music ever produced on earth. I firmly believe this and my challenge stands. "Religion" as such has produced nothing in particular musically otherwise. There is a lot of inspiring folk music from around the world, religious and not, but only Christ has inspired the sublime.
This message has been edited by Faith, 12-25-2005 10:49 PM
Certainly many of the Eastern religions have given us beautiful, inspiring music. Like you, Faith, my preference would probably run to Western - and thus Christian - music, but I'd be hard-pressed to say that it was somehow better than the religious music of other cultures. It's better to my ear, perhaps, but I am a product of my own culture.
Music is so bound to the culture that produced it that I don't think it's fair to try making these sorts of judgements.
Can you give examples of this supposedly equally inspiring music of the Eastern religions?
I don't think so. I think there is an objective standard involved here. I'm not just talking about "good" and "better," or even "beautiful" and "inspiring." I love all kinds of music from almost everywhere.
But only in a culture that has sublime ideas will you find sublime art of any kind and I really do believe that objectively speaking the idea of Christ is the most sublime of them all. This idea happened to come to fruition in the West (although Christ is universal), but theoretically Christ could have inspired any other culture to such artistic heights were they to embrace Him as the West did.
No other culture has ever reached for musical expression of something as sublime as the idea of God becoming a man and coming to earth to dwell among His fallen creation in order to save us from our own violations of His law. There are mere hints of the outrageous glory of it all in the Bible itself, a verse or two that fly by if you don't stop and ponder them -- an angel announcing Him, a whole army of angels singing praises to God (and scaring the wits out of a few mangy shepherds in the process -- and only so all the rest of us could hear about it when it was written about. My pastor preached on this tonight and made the scene real for me). Something about the story, something about cadres of angels singing, something about the character of Christ Himself, something about His being as well as His preaching -- this is stuff beyond the ordinary, that inspires art beyond the ordinary, art that tries to express angels and reaches for heaven.
This message has been edited by Faith, 12-25-2005 11:27 PM
have you listened to all the different religous musics around the world? claiming that *only* christian music is sublime, and none of what you said is in anyway objective i highly doubt mithians would consider the whole god becoming a man a new concept, many angels announced births, so i'm sorry this is not new
Give us some evidence. Yes I've heard a lot of music from around the world. I've been challenged on my statement, so produce the evidence that my claim is wrong. What Jesus did is indeed new, everything else is a pale imitation, and inspired nothing whatever of the power of expression in music we are talking about here, let along everything else He inspired. If you say it did, where's the evidence?
My response was to Parasomnium's affirmation in Message 6 that "religion" has produced some of the most beautiful music ever written, and he gave the example of Bach's Weinachts Oratorium. I answered that not "religion" but Christ inspired such music, because Bach's music is about Christ, not "religion," and he belongs to the Western tradition of "classical" music that celebrated Christ above most other themes, and there is a great deal of opinion that this includes the greatest music of all time, "sublime" music.
This is what I'm talking about. I've made it clear I believe there is a lot of very good music in the world, but "sublime" I don't think so, as this grows out of sublime ideas, which the idea of Christ is.
There is probably nothing more for me to say on this subject. I don't think you get it and probably won't no matter what I say, or some others either, but if anyone does and can produce some good challenges to my assertion, fine.
This message has been edited by Faith, 12-26-2005 04:50 PM
The Virgin Mary music is part of the Christian historical framework I'm talking about. But give your candidates please. The Ave Maria is nice, but I can't think of anything else. And besides, that too is about Christ as it is about the announcement to her of His birth. Idolatry of Mary is what I object to, but I certainly don't deny her very important role within the Christian story.
"Sublime" isn't just "pretty." Although the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah is profaned all the time by association with every low kind of thing, such sublime music is never written for such things. It belongs to the subject matter of the coming of Christ to the world to save sinners.
But put up your candidates please, your "pretty good-sized body of mighty-pretty-or-sublime Virgin Mary music."
This message has been edited by Faith, 12-26-2005 05:23 PM
No, I didn't say that all music about Jesus was good. There is certainly a lot of cheap sentimental and other low music about Jesus, as many people sentimentalize him and don't really grasp the big picture. I said the greatest music ever written was about Him, however, and inspired the Western tradition of truly great music.
What I really have in mind is the soaring exaltation themes of Western Christian music, as expressing something beyond us and so much higher than we are, a reaching for something high, and full of an emotion of wonder and joy beyond joy, the fulfillment of human nature, something "too good to be true" in our ordinary experience. Both in the words and in the music itself. This is even in the Christmas carols but particularly in the Messiah and Bach and some Mozart and Brahms and so on and so forth.
The Hindu music is quite nice, but it isn't the same kind of thing at all though you say it is aimed at developing the highest love for God. In places the first one you linked sounds something like a Gregorian chant but otherwise it's just pleasant contemplative Hindu music.
I'd say it has more in common with folk music than what I'm talking about. And speaking of folk music, here's some that does give me goose bumps though it's only about the most pedestrian themes: