Christmas albums are always a tough thing. To be successful, an artist needs to honor the seasonal favorites that everyone loves, while at the same time being creative enough to keep the album interesting with new songs and clever re-writes. These Christmas Lights, Matt Redman’s Christmas album, knocks the ball out of the park in both areas as he does an incredible job of paying homage to the classics while interweaving his own writing and passion throughout, creating a truly unique Christmas album experience.
Sure to be a future staple of worship during the holiday season is “O Little Town (The Story of Christmas).” Utilizing the words of the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” but set to a fresh melody, the anthemic chorus has that “sticky” quality that you just can’t help but sing along with.
The title cut captures the sentimentality of the season with its seasonal instrumentation that includes bells, violins, and glockenspiel, featuring a chorus that cries out to God to open our eyes to see Jesus our eternal light that was born that night in the stable.
“How Far” is a melodious piano ballad that invites us to travel with Joseph and Mary, the Wise Men, and our wandering hearts to meet the Christ child. The cello on this track is warm, inviting and perfectly placed.
“The Name Of Emmanuel” is one of the best songs on the album as it explores what the incarnation of Christ means for us, and “Holy Night” is another Redman original which begins with what sounds like the angels proclaiming the birth before Matt takes over and musically winds his way through the Christmas story.
If you want a Christmas album full of re-writes and subtle re-wrappings of famous Christmas favorites, this isn’t the one for you. Matt Redman knows the needs of the church and has been writing songs for the Body of Christ to be used in worship for years. These Christmas Lights is an album that meets the Church’s need for new, relevant and profound Christmas music. I appreciated the depth of writing and scriptural base that most of the songs in this collection shared, and although a few would be tough to sing by most congregations, this is a great album that will stir your Christmas spirit while helping you understand the magnitude of importance that the birth of Christ means for us today. Well done!