Apologies for the brief hiatus - it was a weekend that was crazier than anticipated. To make up for it, here are three tunes from the same album: A Christmas Together by John Denver & the Muppets. It's the musical release from the Christmas special of the same name, which I'm sure I've seen, but don't actually have any memories of. This hails from a time when Muppets Christmas specials didn't suck (lookin' at you, Moulin Scrooge), and the whole album is a gem. John has such a sweet, pure voice, and the Muppets are in fine form, backing him on tunes both traditional and contemporary; well-loved and obscure.
Little Saint Nick gets the nod not because it manages to do anything truly amazing to an arrangement that's pretty much the Beach Boys, only done by the Muppets, but because the choice of Muppets to do the song is pretty wicked. Rolf the Dog does a great job on the main vocals; the harmonies are tight; Animal is Animal and it's so perfect when he's singing the "Run run reindeer" bits.
When the River Meets the Sea (which the truly hardcore Christmas fanatics will remember as the song from "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas," another Henson creation) is also just a very nice, peaceful song that it's somewhat difficult to connect to Christmas except in the experience of the spiritual, the ebb and flow of life. Christmas is a chance to be part of something bigger--the greater goodness of life, of love--and this song finds the essence of that.
It's In Every One of Us builds on the feeling that "River" gives me. They are both songs about the potential for truth, and the possibility of redemption through truth. Which is actually a little more religious in nature than I usually like to think of myself. This song does speak to a greater truth than simply the religious, however:
It's in every one of us to be wise.
Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know everything without ever knowing why.
It's in every one of us, by and by.