A Paw-storal Playlist for Advent & Christmas

Dogs have their ways of communicating with us humans, and Paw-stor Isaac knows how to express his musical preferences to me. I wrote two years ago about certain songs that got his tail wagging and feet galloping. This Advent, as I’ve had seasonal music playing all day, every day, all day, he has clearly communicated his favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as he does!

Without further adieu, in no particular order, is the Paw-stor’s Playlist for Advent & Christmas:

“One Small Child” by David Meece

We sang this song in a church Christmas musical when I was a kid, and the words have stuck with me over the years. Isaac’e eyes turns heavenward, and he sits very still while listening to it. Kinda like the shepherds might have been on that first Christmas. Maybe he does have some sheepdog in his DNA after all.

“Blood Oranges in the Snow” by Over The Rhine

I LOVE this album with an all-caps LOVE and have written about one its songs, “Let It Fall.” Isaac perks up on his rides every time the title track comes on. Perhaps he’s hoping I’ll give him an orange. Can dogs eat oranges?

“O Children Come” by Keith & Kristyn Getty

I’m singing with the church choir in this year’s Christmas concert, so the CD of our music has played on repeat during Isaac’s rides. He approves of all the music, but this fiddle-heavy piece by the Gettys was clearly his favorite. Sadly, Ladysmith Black Mambazo was not available to sing with us (ha), but we can enjoy them on this video.

“Honky Tonk Christmas” by Dale Watson

My friend, Mark, has a fun tradition of a Christmas Video Countdown on Facebook. Beginning December 1st, he posts a daily video of Christmas music on the timeline of our friend, Josh. But these selections are not your run-of-the-mill Christmas classics. The musical selection is diverse and fun and often unpredictable. While my favorite thus far on the 2018 Countdown is Mark Knopfler’s “A Ragpicker’s Dream,” Isaac’s ears were at full height when “Honky Tonk Christmas” by Dale Watson started playing. Keep on searching out these Christmas treasures, Mark! They are Paw-stor approved.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” from Love Actually

Isaac came to live with me close to Christmas, so he had no choice but to love Love Actually. While listening to Mariah Carey sing “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” doesn’t phase him, the Love Actually version lights up his big brown eyes. Yes, I’m aware that some people hate the movie, Love Actually. But don’t we Christians believe that love, actually, trumps hate? Check it out, and try not to smile when the little drummer boy’s eyes lock with the girl he loves.

“Angels’ Lullaby” by Christy Nockels

Last year I discovered Christy Nockels’ Advent/Christmas album, The Thrill of Hope. Once again, the Paw-stor and the Pastor had different favorites. The Pastor loved “Wrap This One Up” and even learned to play it on the piano, but the Paw-stor prefers the waltzing, soothing melody of “Angels’ Lullaby.” He even “sings” along. Warning: you might fall into a deep, beautiful sleep while listening like he does.

“Canticle of the Turning” by Buddy Greene

These next three songs come from albums introduced to us by our friend Tricia Walker, who also makes an appearance on the list! Buddy Greene is well-known for co-writing “Mary Did You Know?”, but his whole Christmas album is a delight. Isaac’s love of Celtic music comes through yet again with this arrangement of “Canticle of the Turning.” Google the lyrics to follow along to this beautiful, most appropriate prayer for Advent.

“Deliver Us” by Andrew Peterson

The brilliant Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God is one of those albums best heard in one sitting from beginning to end as one story. “Deliver Us” is the fourth song on the album and captures so perfectly the tone of Advent’s longing. The Paw-stor embodies Advent peace when he hears “Deliver Us,” usually by peacefully sprawling himself across the sofa as he “sings” along.

“Come Darkness Come Light” by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter is a paw-storal favorite, and this song appeared in the original post about his favorite songs. The first year that we had this album, Isaac trotted around the Christmas tree when this song came on, and every year since has expressed great joy when it plays.

“Take a Walk Through Bethlehem” by Tricia Walker

Last but not least comes the Paw-stor’s favorite song sung by his favorite artist from his favorite Christmas album about his favorite extracurricular activity: walking. The only downside is that every time she sings, “I take a walk,” the Paw-stor runs to get his leash! The upside is that we get lots of exercise at Christmas time. Also, he sometimes walks right into the town’s nativity scene. Then again, maybe that’s the point of these holy seasons? To journey towards the manger?

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May your Advent and the coming Christmas season abound with hope, peace, joy, and the love of wagging tails. And may the abundance of good music draw you closer to the baby in Bethlehem!

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian & Paw-stor Isaac