I have to admit, I had not been a big fan of Point of Grace–that is, until I found myself struck in awe before their first song on their first Christmas project was even finished.
I was working a second job at my local Christian bookstore during the Christmas season of 1999. I had a full-time job at The Bon Ton just a couple of stores down at the mall, and had a friend who worked at the bookstore and…well…you get the point. While I probably should have spent my extra income on Christmas presents, I remember I spent it catching up on my backlog of Petra CDs. Ahem, where was I?
Oh yeah, Point of Grace.
It was there that I heard these tremendous harmonies and sweepingly beautiful melodies accompanied with wonderful orchestral arrangements coming over the store speakers. I couldn’t believe how better-than perfect it was. And what was it? You guessed it, Point of Grace’s first Christmas CD, A Christmas Story. So, not only was I in awe, but I was also in a conundrum. Petra or Point of Grace? Well, even though Petra won out, I never forgot those amazing sounds that had captivated me at the store, and so every time Christmas rolled around (for years), I had in the back of my mind that I really needed to get that CD this year. Hearing songs from this album on the radio certainly helped solidify that need, and after not-too-many years, I finally bought that CD.
To this day, it’s still played regularly at Christmastime and has become one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time, with “When Love Came Down” still my favorite original (Christian) Christmas song of all time. Another great original on this album is the beautiful “One King,” which nicely adds in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” for a brief moment.
In addition, their medley of “Carol of the Bells/What Child is This?” is truly captivating, as are their versions of “Coventry Carol,” “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”
Many of the songs are reminiscent of Amy Grant’s second Christmas album, Home for Christmas, and perhaps having Brown Bannister at the helm of both recordings might have had something to do with that. Both albums take a soft, beautiful, slightly contemporary/slightly traditional route via sweeping orchestration that carries you into a wonderful Christmas wonderland.
For anyone looking for a timeless, beautiful and perfectly produced Christmas CD, this is it.