• Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

    “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” was written by Randy Brooks, and originally performed by husband-and-wife duo Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire in 1979. Brooks played the song while he was performing with Elmo and Patsy at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe in December 1978. After the show, Elmo and Patsy requested a cassette of the song, and a year later they were performing the song on stage, with Elmo dressed in drag as “Grandma.”

    In the lyrical version, Grandma doesn’t live, but in the music video Grandma manages to survive the reindeer attack and falls through the chimney. A sequel titled “Grandpa’s Gonna Sue the Pants Off of Santa” was released by Elmo in 1992 on his album Dr. Elmo’s Twisted Christmas. A made-for-TV animated movie based on the original song was released in 2000.

    Lyrics

    Grandma got run over by a reindeer
    Walkin’ home from our house Christmas Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
    But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

    She’d been drinkin’ too much eggnog,
    And we’d begged her not to go.
    But she’d left her medication,
    So she stumbled out the door into the snow.

    When they found her Christmas mornin’
    At the scene of the attack,
    There were hoof prints on her forehead
    And incriminatin’ Claus marks on her back.

    Grandma got run over by a reindeer
    Walkin’ home from our house Christmas Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
    But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

    Now we’re all so proud of Grandpa.
    He’s been takin’ this so well!
    See him in there watchin’ football,
    Drinkin’ beer and playin’ cards with cousin Mel.

    It’s not Christmas without Grandma.
    All the family’s dressed in black,
    And we just can’t help but wonder,
    Should we open up her gifts or send them back?

    Grandma got run over by a reindeer
    Walkin’ home from our house Christmas Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
    But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

    Now the goose is on the table,
    And the pudding made of pig,
    And a blue and silver candle
    That would just have matched the hair in Grandma’s wig.

    I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors,
    “Better watch out for yourselves!”
    They should never give a license
    To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.

    Grandma got run over by a reindeer
    Walkin’ home from our house, Christmas Eve.
    You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
    But as for me and Grandpa, we believe!

  • Dives and Lazarus / A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

    The tune to “Dives and Lazarus” is used in many folk songs throughout western Europe, including “Gilderoy” and “Crooked Jack” in Scotland, “The Star of the Country Down” in Ireland, and “The Unquiet Grave” in England. Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged the tune in his composition Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He also arranged it as a Christmas tune and hymn to “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” and “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.” Latter-day Saints are familiar with the tune as “If You Could Hie to Kolob.”

    The story of “Dives and Lazarus” weaves poetically with “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” The former is the story of a rich man who chastises a poor beggar. It comes from a parable Jesus tells in chapter 16 of the Gospel of Luke. The rich man refuses to feed the beggar who is lying at the gates of his lavish home. He sends men to whip him and dogs to attack him, yet even his servants and dogs refuse to harm the helpless beggar. In the afterlife, the rich man is condemned for his callousness and cruelty, and is sent to hell “to sit upon a serpent’s knee,” while the beggar Lazarus is lifted into heaven to enjoy a blessed afterlife with the angels. The word Dives is from the Greek word for “rich.” The name Lazarus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Eleazar, a name meaning “God supports” or “God helps.”

    “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” is an old poem written in 1826 by James Montgomery, a member of the Moravian Protestant Church. The tune used here was written by George Cole, though it has taken other forms as well. In the poem, the narrator repeatedly stops to help a poor beggar stricken with varying afflictions, paralleling a story Jesus tells in Matthew 25:31-46. No judgment, just someone who desperately wants to help a stranger the world keeps kicking down. At the end of the story, the stranger reveals himself as Jesus, and alludes to the verse in Matthew 25:40, that “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

    Whatever your creed, religion, background or race during this time of protests, prejudice, unrest and uncivility, may the story of these two beggars serve as a reminder of compassion and peace, and spur action to lift up, support, and help those in need.

    Extras

    Piano Solo

    Accompaniment Track

    Sheet Music

  • The Holly and the Ivy

    First published in 1861 by Joshua Sylvester in A Garland of Christmas Carols, the lyrics to “The Holly and the Ivy” are centuries old. The symbols predate Christianity and were likely altered to represent the symbols of Jesus, Mary, and His blood, crown of thorns, and crucifixion. The adapted meaning of the holly and ivy are a little unclear, but they have symbolic origins in druidic and Roman rituals and mythology, and some have suggested the holly represents the masculine aspect of Jesus, and the ivy the feminine aspect.

    Lyrics

    The holly and the ivy,
    When they are both full grown
    Of all the trees that are in the wood
    The holly bears the crown
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

    The holly bears a blossom
    As white as lily flower
    And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
    To be our sweet Saviour
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

    The holly bears a berry
    As red as any blood
    And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
    To do poor sinners good
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

    The holly bears a prickle
    As sharp as any thorn;
    And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
    On Christmas Day in the morn.
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

    The holly bears a bark
    As bitter as any gall;
    And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
    For to redeem us all.
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

    The holly and the ivy
    Now both are full well grown,
    Of all the trees that are in the wood,
    The holly bears the crown.
    O the rising of the sun
    And the running of the deer
    The playing of the merry organ
    Sweet singing of the choir

  • I Need Thee Every Hour / How Great Thou Art

    Extras

    Sheet music

  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

    “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” was composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the early 1700s, as part of the final movement of the Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben cantata (“Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life”).

    The original German lyrics differ quite a bit from the traditional English lyrics, and strongly focus on a more personal connection with Christ. A literal translation is as follows:

    Well for me that I have Jesus,
    O how strong I hold to Him
    That He might refresh my heart
    When so sick and sad am I.
    Jesus have I, He who loves me,
    He who takes me as His own!
    Ah, therefore I don’t leave Jesus,
    Lest I should break my heart.

    The original lyrics were written in 1661 by Mar­tin Ja­nus. The vocal melody was actually written by Jo­hann Schop around 1664, but didn’t become popular until 1723, when Bach added it to the original 1716 cantata.

    Lyrics

    Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
    Holy wisdom, love most bright;
    Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
    Soar to uncreated light.

    Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
    With the fire of life impassioned,
    Striving still to truth unknown,
    Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

    Through the way where hope is guiding,
    Hark, what peaceful music rings;
    Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
    Drink of joy from deathless springs.

    Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
    Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
    Thou dost ever lead Thine own
    In the love of joys unknown.

  • Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

     

    “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” originates from the Polish carol “W zlobie lezy” (“He Lies in the Cradle”). In 1908, the carol was published in a book of Polish carols. 13 years later, Edith Margaret Reed wrote English-language lyrics for the song, and came up with the title “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” The carol reflects on the baby Jesus lying in the manger, the animals watching nearby, and the rejoicing shepherds on the hillside hearing the story from the angels.

    Lyrics

    Infant holy,
    Infant lowly,
    For His bed a cattle stall;
    Oxen lowing,
    Little knowing
    Christ the Babe is Lord of all.
    Swift are winging
    Angels singing,
    Nowells ringing,
    Tidings bringing,
    Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

    Flocks were sleeping,
    Shepherds keeping
    Vigil till the morning new,;
    Saw the glory,
    Heard the story,
    Tidings of a Gospel true.
    Thus rejoicing,
    Free from sorrow,
    Praises voicing,
    Greet the morrow,
    Christ the Babe was born for you!

    Extras

    Sheet Music

  • The First Noel

     

    It’s difficult to know just how old “The First Noel” is. The song (at least the words) is thought to be of Cornish origin, and may date back as early as the 13th or 14th century. During this time, miracle plays and mystery plays — dramatic productions of Catholic saints and biblical stories — were popular in Europe. “The First Noel” may have its origins in some form as early as this time, though it may also be a variation on “The First O Well,” a very old church gallery hymn. It was first published with words in 1823, as part of William Sandys’ Carols Ancient and Modern.

    The arrangement here also incorporates a variation of “Prayer from the North,” a tin whistle melody by Solnamoo Song.

    Lyrics

    The First Noel, the Angels did say
    Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
    In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
    On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    They looked up and saw a star
    Shining in the East beyond them far
    And to the earth it gave great light
    And so it continued both day and night.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    And by the light of that same star
    Three Wise men came from country far
    To seek for a King was their intent
    And to follow the star wherever it went.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    This star drew nigh to the northwest
    O’er Bethlehem it took its rest
    And there it did both Pause and stay
    Right o’er the place where Jesus lay.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    Then entered in those Wise men three
    Full reverently upon their knee
    And offered there in His presence
    Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    Then let us all with one accord
    Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
    That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
    And with his blood mankind has bought.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
    Born is the King of Israel!

    Extras

    Sheet Music

  • Carol of the Bells

    Legend says that at the stroke of midnight on the evening when Jesus was born every bell on the earth began ringing joyously together. It is said there was never a sound quite like it. The song “Carol of the Bells” probably comes from that legend.

    Traditionally, the song starts out soft and gets progressively louder as each voice adds tintinnabulation and then the song softly fades away. The tune for the song was written by Mykola Dmytrovich and was based on an old Ukrainian melody. The words that are used today were written by American composer Peter J. Wihousky, who grew up singing in Russian-American choirs. It was first performed in the Ukraine on the night of January 13, 1916, which on the Julian calendar is considered New Year’s Eve. In the United States the song was first performed on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall.

    Lyrics

    Hark! how the bells
    Sweet silver bells
    All seem to say,
    “Throw cares away.”
    Christmas is here
    Bringing good cheer
    To young and old
    Meek and the bold

    Ding, dong, ding, dong
    That is their song
    With joyful ring
    All caroling
    One seems to hear
    Words of good cheer
    From ev’rywhere
    Filling the air

    Oh how they pound,
    Raising the sound,
    O’er hill and dale,
    Telling their tale,
    Gaily they ring
    While people sing
    Songs of good cheer
    Christmas is here
    Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
    Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas

    On, on they send
    On without end
    Their joyful tone
    To ev’ry home

    Ding, dong, ding, dong.

  • As With Gladness Men of Old

    “As With Gladness Men of Old” was written by William Chatterton Dix. He wrote it on the day of the Epiphany in 1858, while sick in bed. During this time, he read the story of the wise men in the Bible and pondered how he could give the story meaning in his own life. For a living, Dix managed a maritime insurance company in Glasgow, Scotland, but his passion was in poetry and writing song lyrics. He thought about the Magi’s long journey to see the Christ child. Dix knew well about the dangers of travel in his own time, and knew that such a trip for the Magi would be fraught with peril. But instead of focusing on the journey, he focused on the destination, and the joy of giving gifts. The hymn was first published in Dix’s Hymns of Love and Joy in 1861. It was set to music by Conrad Kocher, another man intimately familiar with travel, and who had established the School of Sacred Music in Struttgart, Germany in 1821.

    Lyrics

    As with gladness, men of old
    Did the guiding star behold
    As with joy they hailed its light
    Leading onward, beaming bright
    So, most glorious Lord, may we
    Evermore be led to Thee.

    As with joyful steps they sped
    To that lowly manger bed
    There to bend the knee before
    Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;
    So may we with willing feet
    Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

    As they offered gifts most rare
    At that manger rude and bare;
    So may we with holy joy,
    Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
    All our costliest treasures bring,
    Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

    Holy Jesus, every day
    Keep us in the narrow way;
    And, when earthly things are past,
    Bring our ransomed souls at last
    Where they need no star to guide,
    Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

    In the heavenly country bright,
    Need they no created light;
    Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
    Thou its Sun which goes not down;
    There forever may we sing
    Alleluias to our King!

    Extras

    Sheet Music

  • Joseph’s Lullaby

    “Joseph’s Lullaby” is a song by the Christian rock band MercyMe that gives us a glimpse of how Joseph may have viewed the birth of his new son. The touching lyrics foreshadow the eventual ministry and atonement of the Savior, but gently reminds us that Joseph was also simply a father who loved his newborn child. The song was written in 2005, and reached #33 in the U.S. Billboard charts, and #1 in the Christian music charts.

    My deepest thanks to Coulter Neale for providing the guitar and vocals for this arrangement.

    Lyrics

    Go to sleep, my Son.
    This manger for your bed.
    You have a long road before You.
    Rest Your little head.

    Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
    Do You understand the price?
    Does the Father guard Your heart for now
    So You can sleep tonight?

    Go to sleep, my Son.
    Go and chase Your dreams.
    This world can wait for one more moment.
    Go and sleep in peace.

    I believe the glory of Heaven
    Is lying in my arms tonight.
    Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
    Simply be my child.

    Go to sleep, my Son.
    Baby, close Your eyes.
    Soon enough You’ll save the day.
    But for now, dear Child of mine,
    Oh my Jesus, sleep tight.

  • There’s a Song in the Air

    “There’s a Song in the Air” is both a Christmas carol and Methodist hymn. The lyrics were written by Josiah G. Holland, a very popular poet and novelist in the post-Civil War era and late 19th century. The words paint a picture of the different elements of the Nativity, and recognize Jesus as King.

    The song has been covered often. The original tune was composed by Karl P. Harrington in 1905. The rendition played here, however, is a medley of the original tune plus a couple other more modern variations by Gloria Merritt and John G. Elliott.

    Lyrics

    There’s a song in the air
    There’s a star in the sky
    There’s a mother’s deep prayer
    And a Baby’s low cry
    And the star rains its fire
    While the beautiful sing
    For the manger of Bethlehem
    Cradles a King

    There’s a tumult of joy
    O’er the wonderful birth
    For the Virgin’s sweet boy
    Is the Lord of the earth.
    Aye! the star rains its fire
    While the beautiful sing
    For the manger of Bethlehem
    Cradles a King

    In the light of that star
    Lie the ages impearled
    And that song from afar
    Has swept over the world
    Every hearth is aflame
    And beautiful sing
    In the homes of the nations
    That Jesus is King

    We rejoice in the light
    And we echo the song
    That comes down through the night
    From the heavenly throng
    Aye! we shout to the
    Lovely evangel they bring
    And we greet in His cradle
    Our Savior and King

  • I Wonder As I Wander

     

    John Jacob Niles was traveling through a raucous revivalist meeting in North Carolina on July 16, 1933. A group was about to begin street preaching, when a girl stepped out of the entourage. She was unkempt and ragged, but once she started singing she had a beautiful voice. She smiled as she sang a single line of a song: “I wonder as I wander out under the sky…” with the reasons for Christ’s death as the central question and message of the poignant, yet simple tune.

    Niles asked the girl to sing the song fragment seven more times over again, paying her a quarter each time she did, while he jotted it down in his notebook. From this, he composed “I Wonder As I Wander,” with four phrases and three stanzas. The song was completed on October 4, 1933, and premiered at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.

    Lyrics

    I wonder as I wander out under the sky
    How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
    For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
    I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

    When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall
    With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
    But high from God’s heaven, a star’s light did fall
    And the promise of ages it then did recall.

    If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
    A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
    Or all of God’s Angels in heaven to sing
    He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

    I wonder as I wander out under the sky
    How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
    For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
    I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

    Sheet music

  • In the Bleak Midwinter

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” is based on a poem by Christina Rossetti, written around 1872. The evocative lyrics paint a picture of the Nativity in a snowy Northern landscape. The text of this Christmas poem has been set to music many times, the most famous settings being composed by Gustav Holst and Harold Edwin Darke in the early 20th century. The carol is beloved by millions, and in 2008, Darke’s version of the song was voted the “Best Christmas Carol” by the world’s leading choirmasters and choral experts.

    Lyrics

    In the bleak midwinter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone:
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak midwinter,
    Long ago.

    Our God, heaven cannot hold him
    Nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away
    When he comes to reign:
    In the bleak midwinter
    A stable-place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty
    Jesus Christ.

    Enough for him, whom cherubim
    Worship night and day,
    A breastful of milk,
    And a mangerful of hay:
    Enough for him, whom angels
    Fall down before,
    The ox and ass and camel
    Which adore.

    Angels and archangels
    May have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim
    Thronged the air;
    But only his mother
    In her maiden bliss
    Worshipped the beloved
    With a kiss.

    What can I give him,
    Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd
    I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a wise man
    I would do my part;
    Yet what I can, I give him,
    Give my heart.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C85BugqRuME