Review Rating: 4.5 / 5
Josh Garrels, a Portland, Oregon based singer/songwriter, has just released his first Christmas album titled The Light Came Down. These musically and lyrically rich songs add a unique sound to the Christmas music genre. Classics like “What Child Is This,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “Silent Night,” take on fresh sounds and hold the distinct and artistic feel present in all of Garrels’ music. Additionally, the new, original songs on the album will quickly become Christmas favorites to many.
The title track, “The Light Came Down,” sets the tone for the rest of the album with its relaxing, acoustic feel and poetic lyrics. The song tells of the hope of the Christmas season in the light that “came down [and] cast the darkness away.” The “helpless child” was the light of God who was sent to bring hope, peace and truth into the world.
“Gloria,” a more upbeat song with gospel influences incorporates horns, piano, organ, bass, and a choir of voices to create a celebratory anthem. The opening lyrics speak of the joy and life to be found in the dead of winter: “Hear the sound of bells ring. In the cold night air we sing songs of joy, peace, and love.” The chorus proclaims, “On this holy night, we remember Christ.” The music and choir’s vocals build together joyfully as the song closes.
“O Day Of Peace” is a simple, but powerful song. Piano accompanies Josh’s voice as he prayerfully sings the lyrics, “Guide us to justice, truth, and love, delivered from our selfish schemes. May the swords of hate fall from our hands, our hearts from envy find release.” In the second verse, the piano builds and strings join the joyful lyrics. “O Day Of Peace” leads almost seamlessly into the last song, “Come To Him,” which is a beautiful invitation to come “lay your burdens down.” This beautiful promise closes the song and the album: “Peace He came to give, and joy shall be the crown.”
Josh Garrels’ worship-filled holiday album contains heartfelt songs of joy, hope, and peace. Each song is beautifully and artfully crafted, making the album, as a whole, feel like a piece of art. This is one album I will definitely have on repeat this season as a reminder of the hope and peace we have in Christ’s birth.