The Nineteenth Day of Christmas Music: Sufjan Stevens

My senior year of college, I took a class called Sustainable Tropical Agriculture. It was a seminar class, taught over a couple of long-haul weekends during the normal semester and then in Florida at ECHO and in Honduras over the winter break. We learned a lot about subsistence-level farming during the semester and at ECHO and then looked at various levels of farming in a rural, mountain community in Honduras. The people on the trip were all amazing people who were passionate about social justice and development issues.

In the evenings, we would eat a meal family-style and then we’d all help clean up. Somebody had brought Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas, which had just been released. Even though it was January, we all felt festive and the CDs had heavy rotation in the kitchen boombox. Sufjan’s version of Once in Royal David’s City is one of my favorites from the collection – it sounds homey and warm and charmingly low-key, what with the ukulele and Sufjan’s warbley voice. Hearing it always reminds me of washing dishes in the kitchen in Honduras, overlooking green mountains.


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