A Very Special Christmas Posted October 22, 2020 By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need to Know GRAMMY-nominated artist and multiple Dove Award-winner Francesca Battistelli has released her second solo Christmas album, This Christmas, on Oct. 23, which includes classics and newly-penned tunes. Since I first heard "Free to be Me" by Francesca Battistelli from My Paper Heart, I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of her songs. After an eight year wait since her debut Christmas album, it’s exciting to hear new Christmas music from Francesca. This album was preceded by “Behold Him” as a radio single. The musical vibe of that song sets the tone for this exceptional album, which is not be missed.
What it Sounds Like As a mother of five, this time of year is also extra special for Francesca and her family, and this album really celebrates that unique holiday spirit. Several of Francesca’s songs over the years are accessible pop and worship songs that are deep in meaning and content and this album is no exception with jazz-styled and light-hearted classics such as “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “This Christmas.” So many people can relate to the messages of these songs. The standout songs also include a reverent recording of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and the beautiful “Messiah.” I'm moved by the prayerful song "Behold Him.” The song proclaims my heart's cry to worship our "Defender," Jesus. Francesca’s vocals are so strong and pure and the production on these ultra-catchy songs could easily be featured in mainstream music alongside top-selling artists.
Spiritual Highlights Francesca has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. You'll be blessed by these powerful songs and the standout original anthems with convicting declarations including: “Born to seek and born to save/Born to take our pain away/God with us, Emmanuel/In His arms, all will be well,” in “Behold Him.” Whatever struggle or depression you are facing, you can know that God, Emmanuel, is with you, always. The comfort and rest offered by Jesus is beautifully captured in “Messiah.” Franny beautifully depicts the message of identity that we all need to hear, “All we longed for/ all we needed; Shining in this child's eyes/Hope forever, death defeated/Because of this one holy night.”
Best Song on the Record There are several personal songs that melt my heart, especially “Silent Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and “Messiah” and fun and upbeat recordings of “This Christmas,” December We’ll Remember,” and “Christmas Valentine.” The message of finding freedom in Christ is found in my favorite song, the stirring “Behold Him” which celebrates, “In your silent night/When you're not alright/Lift your eyes and behold Him/Feel the thrill of hope/You are not alone/In this moment behold Him.” Amen to that.
Final Word Franny has once again captivated me as this album features her unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing embedded with the truth of the Gospel for those "with ears to hear." This Christmas showcases not only Franny's gifts as an artist, but her shimmering, emotion-laden voice. She is a great role model for girls and moms everywhere and consistently produces music that is both classic and fresh at the same time. I'm really engaged by the emotional vocals and the meaningful lyrics found in these sacred and fun songs alike. Francesca’s vocals will soothe your soul, and many of the lyrics will direct your attention and focus on Jesus as He is the reason for the season. Have yourself a very special Christmas.