Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BoTB ~ Christmastime Is Here (and a Quick Update)

Can you believe that we have officially stepped into December???

I hope that all of you ate to your heart's content over Thanksgiving, actually enjoyed spending time with your family, managed to not engage in any fistfights or other fights at the dinner table, and can honestly say you're looking forward to Christmas! I AM!!!

I don't spend as much time talking on this blog about how I'm feeling or what's going on as I used to (which, let's face it, I used to drone on constantly about the state of how pitiful things were in the Land of Robin). Somehow I've swung from vomitous overload of content on that front to an icy desert of silence. Yeah, those shouldn't go together, but I think it works. It is MY PLAN to actually put something together soon on the state of affairs on that which is me.

But, for for right now, I'm feeling hopeful, which I consider to be an awesome thing. My personal health is far from perfect, but I do sense a shift happening (a positive one), so I'm doing what I can to to build on that. I'm excited about the Christmas holiday. I'm excited about 2017. And maybe I'm beginning to understand/accept/learn that I don't have to have it all figured out for me to feel good about it. It doesn't have to be perfect or even the way I want it (because it isn't yet) for me to simply be happy in the moment that is. Happy that things are moving in a good direction. Things in life really do happen one step at a time, and the people who enjoy life the most are those that appreciate each step (even if it isn't precisely where you want to be). I think I haven't been very good at this in the past, which suggests that we really can/do make our own misery simply by not being able to access the grace to accept what is.

So, woohoo, Christmas is here. And that means so many things I love. Christmas lights. Snowmen everything. Did you know I collect snowmen??? I love snowmen. I hate living in cold places, but I love snowmen. Long sleeves. Sweaters. Being able to drink coffee any time of the day. Christmas music. Christmas movies. Scarves. Boots. I love boots. I wish I looked good in hats. Because if I looked good in hats, hats would definitely be on my list. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (I make them at least once this time of year... yum!). These are just a few of my favorite things. I love Christmas, and it's here!

The song for this round of Battle of the Bands is Christmastime is Here. This song has been covered by so many artists. It's even been done in previous battles a couple of years ago, but that's A-Okay because I'm using different contenders! That is just one more thing I love about Christmas!!!

Back in the 1980s contemporary Christian music was really just gaining a foothold (I think). I'm not consulting the wikipedia on this, but speaking from my memory. Artists like Amy Grant blew onto the scene in the mid-late 70s or early 80s (I'm pretty sure on this... again, working from memory) and really changed how the world heard Christian music. This fellow by the name of Michael W. Smith came onto the scene in the early 80s and rocked my world with a song called Friends. Anyone else remember this??? I can't tell you how many times I've cried to THAT song. I could write more about that, but we all have lives we need to get back to... So, moving on... Turns out he would eventually cover the song Christmastime Is Here. And voila. Here we are.

In the mid-2000s a contemporary Christian music band called MercyMe crossed over from contemporary Christian music into mainstream music (pop?) with their song I Can Only Imagine. That song will also make me cry pretty much every time I hear it. I suppose a conclusion could be made that I am a crier by nature.** MercyMe also covered Christmastime Is Here. I think you can see where this is going. Michael W. Smith is still going strong in the contemporary Christian music world as is MercyMe, BUT which one does this song better? YOU be the judge.

**Sad commercials make me cry. Those darn Budweiser commercials with the horse and puppy that are featured for the Superbowl get me every year.

Take it away Michael W. Smith (with a little help from Vince Gill):

Take it away MercyMe:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.


  1. This Thanksgiving it was just my wife and I and it was wonderful. We still had our traditional dinner, but alone in a quiet uncontentious setting.

    You're going to be okay, I can relate to that "icy desert of silence" as I've been feeling that too even though I've still be posting with fair regularity. Hopeful is good. Hope and a positive outlook can cure many an ill--or least help take your mind off of them for a while.

    I was a big CCM fan in the 80's. I do remember "Freinds" and have at least two CD's with the song. Went to see Smith at a church not far from me back around 1992 and I'm sure he did that song there. It was an outstanding concert.

    I also like MercyMe. Have at least one CD by them.

    With this song I much prefer Michael W. Smith's version. Better tempo and better vocals.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  2. I like the slicker production of Mercy me, nice subtle guitar in the background

  3. I don't look good in hats either.
    Glad State of Robin is looking up.
    Mercy Me's version - I like the more modern sound.

    Christmastime is my favorite time of the year! Always has been.

    It's funny you mentioning CCM, because I have a long introduction into my current BOTB that chronicles the genesis of CCM. It all ties into the Battle I've put together, which includes a kind of "battle within the Battle".

    This is a toughie because this is a beautiful song that I love and both covers are excellent and each time I've listened to them, I've liked them better and better.

    I love that sweet, sweet guitar playing in the MWS version. That's Vince Gill, I'm assuming(?) But when all is said and done, I guess I gotta vote for MERCY ME. I think there's just a little bit more "Wonder" in its sound, and it seems to me "the wonder of Christmas" is a major element of what this song's lyrics are conveying.

    Yeah, MERCY ME. They're terrific!

    Another top-notch Battle, Girl WONDER.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. I'm happy things are looking up for you, Robin. May you have a fantastic 2017! ☺

    I prefer the Michael Warren version of this song. It's not only the most familiar, but it has such smooth vocals and that cool snippet of surf guitar.

  6. So glad to hear that you're feeling better and looking forward to 2017. Being hopeful cures all, I think. Hopeful is a coveted state of mind and I'm glad you have it!

    As for your battle, I love this song. I too love Christmas for the most part, although it might be a bit difficult for me this year, just losing my Dad. But it is a great time of year and the song brings it all to life. I'm voting for Mercy Me on this one. I like their version better.

    Enjoy this holiday season Robin!

    Michele at Angels Bark

  7. I had to listen to each twice before I could make up my mind which I liked best. Such a great song. I could listen to both all day long and not tire of it. But in the end, I must cast a vote. I think I'm going to cast my vote for Mercy Me. The tempo reminds me of December - starts out fairly slow and evenly paced, but then speeds up toward the end.


  8. Mercy Me sounds the best to me! I'm looking forward to Christmas too. :) Happy Holidays to you!

  9. MW and Vince. More the Peanuts feel, which is Christmas at its core for me.

  10. I prefer Michael Smith. Seems much smoother and mellow. Also, I like the vocals more.

  11. Robin, I feeling hopeful with many prayer needs answered. Now, I see Snoopy skating across that ice pond from the Peanuts Christmas Special I loved to watch as a kid. :) Both artists did a good job. I think Michael W. Smith covered the song just a little better. His style was smoother and softer to the ear reminding more of Vince Gill's original. Please give my vote to Michae. Have a blessed Christmas season, my friend!

  12. Robin, my friend, it's a Christmas BOTB Miracle! You're gonna get me to vote against ANYTHING that includes Vince Gill (whom I love...). But Michael...sorry. You were up against MercyMe. There's no way to fight it. I gotta give my one and only vote to Mercy Me. Loved their arrangement and vocals. Makes me want to start the first and settle in.

    [Darn, I have to go to a meeting/party.]

  13. I liked Mercy Me quite a bit from the vocals to the musical styling so they get my vote. The first one sounded too much like musac to me:)

  14. I also don't look good in hats. :(

    I am seeing lots of really cool asymmetrical coats in style this year. Unfortunately, those only look good on tall people. They make short people look like hunchbacks.

  15. Love the guitar work in Michael W. Smith's version. Was not as impressed with MercyMe as everyone else. Give my vote to Michael W. Smith.

  16. Ah, how fitting that your battle is about CMTDS (Christian Music That Doesn't Suck). A leading expert in the field has been showing me some good ones lately. So maybe it's just bias, but I loved MercyMe's version. It's a much more colorful version to me.

    And I think everyone's looking forward to 2017. 2016 was pretty crappy, but in 2017 things can only go up!


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