For the last eight years my good friend Steve Tanner has given us a wonderful gift called the 25 Days of Christmas Music. And now he is doing it again.

Here's how it works. Starting today and going through December 25, Steve will release a Christmas song in mp3 format free for downloading. No strings attached. It's all free. You can download the tunes and play them on your media player or load them on your iPod. It's a wonderful way to carry beautiful Christmas music with you plus it's fun to download a new song each day during the season. 

Did I mention that it is free? You don't have to sign up or meet any conditions or agree to join a program. In a world filled with gimmicks and come-ons, this is the real deal. This year's theme is Trim the Tree Travels. Here's how Steve explains it:

Believe it or not, it's actually rather hard to come up with a theme every year for Steve's 25 Days of Christmas Music. Sometimes, I come up with theme ideas, jot them down, and don't roll them out until years later when I have enough songs to make them work. This year's theme is one of those "tucked away" ideas.

Inspired by one of my favorite TV shows, The Amazing Race, which features teams racing all around the world in a competition, I thought it would be fun to take you on a global journey as well.

Welcome to our Trim the Tree Travels! Each day until Christmas I'll share a song that takes us to a geographical destination, whether via the song title or by some of the lyrics contained within. To keep things interesting (and to preserve my own sanity), I didn't just select a bunch of international Christmas carols. What good is a jumble of music you don't recognize or understand? That would be boring! Instead, I intentionally picked tunes that took us to various destinations in a uniquely fun way. I hope you'll agree!

Steve has also put the archives from 2001-2008 online. When combined with this year's songs, that equals almost 14 hours of Christmas music, all free for downloading. I love this idea, I'm glad Steve is doing it, and I hope many of you will visit his site each day between now and December 25.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon