The Promise, by Michael Card. I would listen to him sing "This is the way we pick up our toys." Love him. His "Joseph's Song," about St. Joseph regarding the amazing gift of Jesus in his arms, is a sure-fire tear-producer.
The Birth of Jesus, by John Michael Talbot. He sets Psalms to music better than almost anybody on earth, although he can be a little bit slow and over-serious on some of his million albums. But this one's a great Christmas play. Many classic hymns along with a few of his own compositions, so it's easy to sing along almost immediately.
Majesty & Wonder, by Phil Keaggy and the London Festival Orchestra. An instrumental by this fine guitarist. Again, lots of classics in lush arrangements but his guitar is always a distinctive voice.
He is Born, by Karl Kohlhase. Writes, sings, records and produces his own music, he allows his music to be downloaded for a donation. He is thoughtful and sincere with a nice gift for composition and each of his albums is better than the last.
In these choices, I betray my age and musical tastes. If James Taylor or Paul Simon sang songs about Jesus, I'd be the first to buy them. I lean towards that "troubador" style of music.
Can't skip over the big massed voices and instruments, too: I love to play (and sing along with) the Messiah, in its complete form. I sang it at Chicago's Do-It-Yourself Messiah for many years, until going downtown on a weeknight got more difficult. Being one of 2,500 voices in the seats of historic Orchestra Hall singing "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" or "Surely He Has Borne Our Sins" or, obviously, the "Hallelujah Chorus," is quite simply a big rush. A slightly sloppy but always genial rush on some of the more esoteric numbers, but fun nonetheless.
I play the Messiah straight through, but the others go into random play. Do you feel like I do that there is some song the randomizer never plays, that there's a little jewel I haven't heard after dozens of plays?
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