Casting Crowns It's Finally Christmas EP review

Posted by Aaron Lewendon  ·  Be the first to comment

Casting Crowns It's Finally Christmas

If someone asked you to sum up all of Christmas, what would you say?

I’ve tried, and I am certain it is impossible. I could mention the nativity, but then I would forget family traditions. I could talk turkey, but would then miss out salvation for all humanity. It seems an impossible task, but the closest to a short skate across Christmas you’ll be likely to find this Christmas is this, a 6-track EP from Casting Crowns (and featuring Matt Maher). Each of these tracks takes in a vital part of Christmas and distills it into the kind of powerful, moving and beautiful music that has been a hallmark of Casting Crowns for years.

Starting with the good news of Christmas (because, really, where better to begin?), the EP’s opener takes its cues from the Angel’s appearance to the shepherds. Gloria/Angels We Have Heard on High is a rousing track that swells in its chorus, and is as much an announcement of Jesus’ birth as it a celebration. It’s the kind of sound that Casting Crowns do best. Big, bright, and bursting with good news.

And now the title track. Any Christmas cynics out there may want to skip ahead a paragraph or two. Christmas cheese lies ahead.

It's Finally Christmas EP

It’s Finally Christmas is all about the little details that make Christmas. From twinkling lights, to ‘the smell of cookies baking’, to singing Nat King Cole classics - family traditions are at the heart of the song. Christmas is a time for coming together, and looking forward to warmth of family and friends, wherever you are. Even die-hard Christmas fans may find earnest lines like ‘If you’ve got love, you’ve got it all’ a little cloying, but the song rounds off with a return to the heart of it all - remembering the Christmas story together.

Which brings us nicely to What Child is This (Christ the King). Set partially to Greensleeves, this is all about the traditional Christmas. The child of Mary, the wise men (and their gifts) and shepherds all make an appearance in this melodic look back to the classic Christmas story that centers around Mary singing a lullaby to Jesus which. The use of Greensleeves, works better than I had anticipated. The iconic notes of the tune are not overwrought, but work more of a light touch in the chorus that blend well with the folk-inflected track.

Then, moving through a song about the peaceful spirit of Christmas to a gentle, reflective rendition of O Holy Night, the EP offers up a place to reflect on what lies at the heart of Christmas. This is a welcome space for anyone swamped in the tide of Christmas busyness. Somewhere to stop, think, pray, and rest.

Then, to cap it all off in the most Casting Crowns way possible, is a song equal parts carol and calling. Make Room asks you to respond to more than the tinsel and the turkey of Christmas. ‘Is there room in your heart?’ is the central question of the song, and is the challenge to think about throughout the season. We are all so full of so many things in the run up to Christmas - both good and bad - that finding space for God’s story can fall by the wayside. That’s because we aren’t meant to find room for Jesus (which, as any innkeeper in Bethlehem demonstrated), but rather we make it.

It's Finally Christmas EP by Casting Crowns is avalible to order today.

6th November

November 6th, 2017 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon

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