Released at the beginning of October with plenty of time until the holiday season, Tomlin’s Christmas foray is exactly what fans will probably expect from him. This release sees the Dove Award-winning worship leader balancing the old Christmas standards with four new songs, compilations with some of Christian music’s top acts, and support from a whole choir. He also does a great job of making sure that these songs we sing every December are not just tradition but songs of true worship to our King.
My favorite tracks on the album are the old classics. Tomlin stays true to the originals with songs like the opener “O, Come All Ye Faithful.” With the choir in the background I imagine Tomlin leading a Christmas Eve Service at a big church with the lights low and candles glowing. “Angels We Have Heard On High” follows suit but then gives way to new takes on the Season like “Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground.)”
Not that there is anything wrong with new Christmas music, but so many people try their hand at creating modern classics and it always makes you appreciate the old ones much more. Tomlin’s attempts are no exception with four tracks that all sound like they could be off of any of his non-Christmas CDs if it weren’t for sleighbell accompaniment in the background. The title track is a reworking of his popular worship-service favorite and I actually like this slowed-down, “Christmas version” better than the original.
There is nothing too far removed from the originals to throw off your Christmas party groove except maybe a sped up “more rocking” version of “Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy),” with an added Tomlin bridge. Christy Nockels guests on (and sings most of) a gorgeous version of “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” and we also get a Tomlin/Matt Redman duet on track ten. The whole CD plays smoothly through and I think most fans of his will really like it. It also fits in nicely as part of a background Christmas mix for time spent with friends and loved ones.