The Music of Christmas: Beverly Lewis

What aspect of Christmas takes you right back to your childhood? Hint: If you’re like me, it’s even more nostalgic than the tempting aroma of Grandma’s cherry pie or the sweet taste of eggnog and peppermint sticks.

So…what is it? The wonderful music of Christmas, of course!

Lewis 1

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” makes me want to curl up by the fireplace with my husband, Dave. “Joy to the World!” brings to mind the very first time I heard the perfect descending scale that opens this majestic carol—the day I joined my timid childish voice with a larger group at school. “Sleigh Ride” and “Jingle Bells” bring out the wiggles in kids and make us all want to dance a little. Even our tiny grandniece, Avianna Jane, likes to sing “Jingle Bells”—on pitch, too!

Lewis 2

“Silent Night,” while sung at candlelight service on a snowy Christmas Eve, encourages us to count our blessings and extend them to others. “Breath of Heaven” opens our hearts ever wider to God’s calling on our lives.

The minor strains of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” have been a favorite since my earliest childhood. (“O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”) Wow, old English aside, those lyrics are the perfect devotional for any time, and especially at Christmas! I remember learning to play that carol at the piano, my seven-year-old hands stretching for the octaves in the chorus (“Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel!”).

Years later, as a high school student, I created classical arrangements of my most cherished carols, which I eventually taught to many piano students prior to becoming a full-time author.

Lewis 3

There’s something sacred that tugs at our heartstrings when we hear the memorable melodies and the oh-so-familiar lyrics. After lighting the candles on a very special birthday cake on Christmas Eve, my family also loves to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” for Jesus in four-part harmony. It’s just one of our many traditions around here.

Lewis 4

My Plain friends and relatives, Amish and Mennonite, enjoy spreading Christmas cheer by caroling from farmhouse to farmhouse.

Lewis 5

Can’t you just hear the clear, unison voices in the still of a cold and starry night? I remember the first time I heard my Mennonite relatives sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” It was all I could do as a child not to burst into applause at the end. (When those around me quietly said amen at the song’s conclusion, that was my cue not to clap.)

Lewis 6

Another carol I love for many reasons is “Angels We Have Heard on High.” My younger sister, Barbara, our parents, and I started singing this carol with all the verses when I was very young and just learning to sing in harmony. Our rendition of this joyful carol has been part of our extended family Christmas tradition for all these many years—even now, as my brother-in-law sings the melody and Mom sings it in heaven.

Lewis 7
Love of music, Christmas carols and otherwise, has been a major part of my life since I was just four years old and started taking piano lessons. Making music and writing stories have been my life’s passions from early on. Interestingly, an astute editor once told me that the perfect paragraph incorporates musical rhythm, as well as a lyrical quality. Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed that aspect of the poetic in many of your favorite authors’ writings, as well.

Lewis 8
My family tree sways with enthusiasm for Christmas music. Our granddaughter, Ariel, plays the piano, violin, and clarinet, and she especially likes to perform four-hand duets with Papa Dave.

Lewis 9

When we gather for our annual gingerbread house-making party, a few days before December 25th, we also make live music, singing and at the piano.

Lewis 10

Which two aprons are authentic Amish?

This music includes original compositions by our niece Amy, who inspires us with her new piano works each year.

Lewis 11
After cleaning up leftover sweets from our gingerbread house “masterpieces,” and before the potluck supper, the young girls in our family take turns playing with a brand-new puppy found in someone’s Christmas stocking.

Lewis 12

My wish for you this year is that the carols of Christmas will warm and cheer your heart, bringing healing and comfort if needed, and above all, stirring your faith. May the well-loved songs point to the truest of all reasons to celebrate. Without Christ’s coming, we would be lost, still searching…longing for the Light of God’s love. But good tidings of great joy, dear friend: Christ has come, indeed—“Emmanuel, God with us”! Such astonishing truth and amazing grace, all wrapped up into one glorious gift for you, and for me.

A very Merry Christmas from our house…to yours!

Lewis 13

Is music a part of your family’s celebration of Christmas? In what ways?

Some of Bev’s favorite carols:

Connect with Beverly on Facebook and her website.

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Most Recent Release: The Secret Keeper

Secret Keeper

Jenny Burns has always had an “old soul,” but her quest to join the Amish world will challenge her spirit—and her heart—in ways she never expected.

32 thoughts on “The Music of Christmas: Beverly Lewis

  1. Thank you for that beautiful look into your families Christmas traditions and it was so beautifully written, I felt I was there with you! Merry Christmas Beverly to you and your beautiful family! ♥

  2. Oh, yes! I love Christmas music!

    “O, Holy Night” is my favorite, though “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is a close second.

    But for fun, check out the Straight No Chaser version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” 😀

  3. Really enjoyed reading about your family’s Christmas traditions. Just this morning I was feeling nostalgic myself. I was thinking about, and even visited, some of the places that were special to me in years gone by. Right now I am taking a short break from making Christmas candy and treats while listening to Christmas music. I love the song “Mary Did You Know?” Very thought provoking, especially to a mother’s heart. Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Love the nostalgia of the Christmas Season, Donna, and the power and inspiration of Jesus’ Birthday, just as you do. Homemade candy is best, of course. 🙂 Have a lovely time cooking and singing!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Beverly! Thank you. None of us in this family have the gift of singing (at least not singing well) and none of us can play an instrument. And yet, we love Christmas music! I have a whole collection of Christmas music on itunes and it’s one of the first things I get going when we bring out the boxes of decorations. God truly does use it to bless me, every Christmas.

    • I loved doing this Christmas Blog for you, Becky–thanks for sharing your thoughts about Christmas music. It truly is a very wonderful time of the year. And music certainly raises our spirits, all for the glory of God. Hugs!

  5. As always Beverly, whatever you’re writing is enjoyable to read…we have similarities in that music has been and is a big part of our heritage and Christmas celebration. I too learned piano at age 7 and remember well playing the carols from a small booklet that was given out by gas stations, think may still one…the world has changed. Our tradition is fish for dinner on Christmas eve and a midnight service. Never had a b-day cake for Jesus growing up but since being saved in 1975, it is something we have included in raising our family and our daughter has done the same. December 8 this year is our golden anniversary and family is coming from far and wide…very special to have had the Lord’s Blessings for our marriage. May the Lord continue to inspire you in your writing and grant you and yours a most joyous Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year!

    • So very, very happy for you, Phyllis–a most blessed wedding anniversary celebration in two days! Thanks for your encouraging comments, and yes, I agree with you, having a birthday for Jesus makes a whole lot of sense. Blessings for the Christmas Season…and always!

  6. Enjoyed reading about your Christmas. Such beautiful traditions. That baby sure looks like you. I love the gingerbread house tradition. Sounds so fun. I also love the old hymns. I love O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark the Herald Angels, and others. Some songs make me cry, because I miss those who have gone to heaven, like Daddy, Momma, Grandma, my cousin, Sonya, and others. Songs like I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Silver Bells, some of Momma’s favorites. Merry Christmas, Beverly Lewis, beloved author, and to your family.

    • I cry, too, Patricia, when I sing certain songs…or hear them playing, missing my darling mother, gone now seven years this past summer. Music has the ability to evoke such precious memories, and otherwise. It is the universal language. Thanks for sharing here with me. I pray you’ll have a meaningful and happy Christmas Season!

  7. I loved reading about your family and your favorite Christmas songs. I love Christmas and I love Christmas music..I wished I could play the piano.. Silent Night , oLittle Town of Bethlehem..I don’t think there is a Christmas song I don’t like.I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!!!

  8. Hi, Peggy! It’s never too late to learn to play the piano, BTW. 🙂 If you wish to, then you must take some lessons. I taught many adults prior to writing books, and I can tell you that every one of my adult students did well. No one was “making them” take lessons, like some of the younger children, of course. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, and have a special celebration of Jesus’ Birthday!

  9. I remember going to my Godparents dairy farm. Real sleigh rides with horses, ahhh, I was so blessed !! Lost my Godfather less then a month ago. My heart will be heavy this year at Christmas… but I know where he is. Silent night was my daddys favorite Christmas song. Now my daddy and my godfather can sing it together. ❤

    • Precious memories, indeed, Mary. I can just picture the fun sleigh rides at your dear godparents’ farm. I’m sad for your loss…and at this time of year, especially. I am asking God to grant you His comfort and peace to surround you all Christmas long…and always.

  10. I REMEMBER GOING ON A SLEGH RIDE CHRISTMAS VE N THE SNOW FLYING ALL ARND AN STOPPING FOR HOT CHOCALATE N THEN RETURNING HOME.

    • We did this, too, at my mother’s Mennonite aunt and uncle’s big farm, when I was a little girl, Judy. Ah, the joyful memories, jah? Thanks for your wonderful comments. I’m thinking I need a big mug of hot cocoa about now. Merry Christmas to you and your dear ones.

  11. Beverly, thank you for sharing your family and Christmas traditions. Music does make the heart soar! I love to sing harmony, and remember my school days in the choir. I was always most comfortable as an Alto, and even now during church hymns, I’ll take up that part when singing (difficult to hit those high notes.) 🙂 I have so many Christmas favorites, and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” is one of them–great for singing harmony. St. Augustine said, “He who sings, prays twice.” Your home must be filled to the rafters with blessings! Merry Christmas!

    • My sister, Barbara, always sang the alto part in our family quartet, Kate. How fun to hear that you, as well, love to blend your voice in harmony! I’ve always appreciated the St. Augustine quote you shared–thanks for the lovely reminder.

      We’ve been singing quite a lot around the house lately–kind of hard to do while writing a first drafter, however! But what’s not to sing about when our children are coming home to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday with us very soon?

      Blessings to you and your dear ones. I really enjoyed your comments.

  12. Thank you Beverly for sharing some of your family traditions with us. Our family enjoys spending Christmas Eve attending a candle light service at church, then returning home to read the Christmas story from the Bible. We then open gifts and enjoy some late night goodies before heading to bed. Christmas Day is spent with friends and family that come to visit and enjoying a wonderful Christmas meal … all the time enjoying Christmas Carols and songs being played on the stereo. Wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas.

  13. this was awesome page. I just love to read your books. you are an awesome author. is there a book to read of yours at Christmas time? I am waiting on the new one to come out. I loved the secret keeper. I am reading them in order.
    keep on writing. I am amazed. I never liked to read and I just love your books.

    • Hi, Karen! Thanks for your delightful comments here. And, yes, I have a “family books” for all ages titled, ANNIKA’S SECRET WISH, which is Christmas story set in historic Sweden, the ancestry of my husband’s family. I think you’ll enjoy it very much.

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