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Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas [Hardcover]

By Ace Collins (Author)
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Item description for Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins...

Tells of the real inspiration, heartache, trials, and faith that inspired thirty-five great Christmas carols, hymns, and popular songs, bringing new understanding and meaning to each of these holiday classics.

Publishers Description
Behind the Christmas songs we love to sing lie fascinating stories that will enrich your holiday celebration. Taking you inside the nativity of over thirty favorite songs and carols, Ace Collins introduces you to people you ve never met, stories you ve never heard, and meanings you d never have imagined. The next time you and your family sing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, ' you ll have a new understanding of its message and popular roots. You ll discover how 'Angels from the Realms of Glory, ' with its sublime lyrics and profound theology, helped usher in a quiet revolution in worship. You ll learn the strange history of the haunting and powerful 'O Holy Night, ' including the song s surprising place in the history of modern communications. And you ll step inside the life of Mark Lowry and find out how he came to pen the words to the contemporary classic 'Mary, Did You Know?' Still other songs such as 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' trace back to mysterious origins--to ninth-century monks, nameless clergy, and unknown commoners of ages past. Joining hands with such modern favorites as 'White Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song, ' they are part of the legacy of inspiration, faith, tears, love, and spiritual joy that is Christmas. From the rollicking appeal of 'Jingle Bells' to the tranquil beauty of 'Silent Night, ' the great songs of Christmas contain messages of peace, hope, and truth. Each in its own way expresses a facet of God s heart and celebrates the birth of his greatest gift to the world--Jesus, the most wonderful Christmas Song of all."

From Publishers Weekly
This year, at least three different titles explore the origins of well-known Christmas carols. Ace Collins's Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas takes on more than 30 popular songs and hymns, from classics such as "O Holy Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" to the contemporary Christian hit "Mary, Did You Know?" Secular numbers such as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" also get their due in this attractively designed gift book. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 09/24/2001
  • PW Notes and Reprints - 09/24/2001 page 61
  • Booklist - 10/01/2001 page 280
  • Christian Retailing - 12/10/2001 page 13

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.5" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.78"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2001
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310239265  
ISBN13  9780310239260  
UPC  025986239268  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ace Collins

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Citing his Arkansas heritage, Christy Award winning author Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. In that capacity, Ace has authored more than seventy books for twenty-five different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, and children's works as well as books on history, culture, and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special, and does college basketball play-by-play. Elk Lake Publishing continues to release new episodes of In The President's Service, a groundbreaking series that first hit the market in 2014. In addition to books, Ace has penned more than 2000 magazine features, appeared on every network morning television show, as well as CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox. He also does scores of radio interviews each year. His speaking engagements have taken him from churches and corporations to America's Dog Museum in St. Louis and the National Archives in Washington, DC. Beyond normal writing circles, Ace has penned several production shows. He also speaks regularly to college classes on the art of writing. Ace's hobbies include sports, restoring classic cars and Wurlitzer jukeboxes, and running. He is the play-by-play voice for Ouachita Tiger basketball. Ace is married to the Chair of the Department of Education at Ouachita Baptist University, Dr. Kathy Collins. The couple lives in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and has two sons.

Ace Collins currently resides in Hillsboro, in the state of Texas.

Ace Collins has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Lije Evans Mysteries
  2. Semeia (Journal Issue)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Gifts

Christian Product Categories
Books > General Interest > Seasonal > Christmas

Reviews - What do customers think about Stories Behind Best-Loved Songs Of Christmas?

Great read - but too small  Jan 11, 2007
The book and information was wonderful. A very nice read. However - stick to the original size. This miniature edition is a little TOO miniature... only about 1 inch square.
Good for modern songs, bad for older ones.  Nov 5, 2006
The author should quote his sources, because others in the future may take his statements for fact, when some of the stories are not backed up by other authors / researchers. I have found conflicting information about some of the music both in print and online. A Google search will lead you to different versions and also different background info on "The Twelve Days of Christmas", for example. Also, though I am no musicologist, I would consider a christmas song as being secular, and a christmas carol as being about sacred topics, i.e. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. In contrast, The "Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook" is pretty good about (briefly) explaining the backgound / history of the selections (plus it has the music) and almost every one of the popular songs, but it does not always have all of the verses of the songs.
Sloppy research  Mar 1, 2006
For someone with 50 books to his credit--as per the dust jacket--Collins is highly sloppy in the research of this book. As has been previously noted, he just presented a common story about the origins of "Silent Night" without necessarily having done any deep research. And the comments about "The Twelve Days of Christmas" come straight from a silly internet piece, with no basis in fact.

This is common throughout this book. It seems more often than not, Collins has just done some cursory internet research and then slapped it all together and called it good.

Some other screw-ups: Irving Berlin was worried that "White Christmas" wasn't really a good song. Actually Berlin, upon introducing it to his office staff and musical secretary, refered to it as "not only the greatest song I've ever written, but the greatest song ever written." Berlin at one point had plans to make White Christmas the main production number in a major Broadway revue. In performing it for Crosby and studio execs, Berlin got nervous with himself and choked in performing it. You can read about this in Jody Rosen's excellent book on White Christmas, called "White Christmas."

As for his assertions about the meaning and origin of the term Merry in merry Christmas, he gets it wrong again. Ten minutes in the Oxford English Dictionary, available at any decent public library, would have given him the answers.

Better Books on this subject are Rosen's afforementioned book and "The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols" ed. Ian Bradbury.
Inspire Your Heart and Mind   Dec 16, 2005

Did you ever wonder how your favorite Christmas hymns and carols came to be written? Where were they first sung and why? Who are the people behind them? What events in their lives, what discoveries of faith, inspired these beloved songs into being? Ace Collins has complied a lovely little book to help you find out.

For instance, here you will find everything from "Angels from the Realms of Glory" to "White Christmas". (Yes, there are some popular songs sprinkled in among the hymns and carols!). Do you know...

...What favorite hymn was written the Christmas that the church organ conked out? (Yes, I know some of you know the tale, but it is here for those who don't).

...Which one was a faithful Christian's response to the carnage of the War Between the States?

...Which hymn was penned with a visit on horseback to the village of Jesus' birthplace fresh in the writer's memory?

Ace Collins relates the stories, both familiar and fresh. He helps the reader not only wonder as they wander through the holidays but also figure out who Good King Wenceslas was and why he is worth singing about after all these years. Collins is the author of over fifty books including "Turn Your Radio On" and "The Cathedrals". All of these stories are accompanied by the words of the carols and hymns, so you can sing or hum along as you read about them.

This book would be a great devotional book or family conversation starter to use throughout the Advent season, with 31 different stories to inspire your heart and mind throughout the wondrous season. It is small enough to serve as a great stocking stuffer and lovely enough to be a stand-alone gift for any number of people on your Christmas list.

Big disappointment  Jan 19, 2005
I was expecting accurate information regarding the history of Christmas songs and carols. Instead, Ace Collins has taken some facts about the carols and woven fairytales around them. In some cases he has taken a few facts and assumed results that are erroneous.

Having personally researched "Silent Night" in Austria, I can say for certain that Collins has presented another fanciful story based on some facts and some misconceptions about the world's best-loved carol.

The tale about "The Twelve Days of Christmas" being a secret catechism for Catholics in the period when they were oppressed in England doesn't make any sense. The "secret" Catholic beliefs it supposedly hides are identical to the Protestant beliefs of that era. Therefore there was no reason to keep them secret from Protestants -- 1 = one God, 2 = Old and New Testament, 3 = gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- and so on.

Sadly, it's just another feel-good Christmas book when it could have been a valuable resource for people wanting accurate information.

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