One of my favorite albums for the Advent and Christmas seasons this year has been Sleeping at Last's Christmas Collection 2012. Ryan O'Neal offers lovely, thoughtful, even raw arrangements of traditional seasonal tunes, and (as usual) his music features some really terrific string arrangements.
A personal favorite (and new discovery for me) is his take on "I Heard the Bells", which depicts so beautifully the idea of waiting with hope during Advent:
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
You can download the album for free here.