‘Tis the season..game on!

 

Advent has begun, Christmas is coming quickly.children’s programs, hanging of green services, Living Christmas Trees, Christmas Eve services, musical productions, etc., etc.  Here we go.

 

Although I realize we have all been working on Christmas for some time already, I want to request your attention for a moment here at the front end of the carrying out of those plans you have; plans to lead your people through these weeks of Advent into the full-on celebration of Christmas.  My appeal to us is an oft-repeated caution regarding the excesses of the season – too much production (the big Christmas show) or too much cultural saturation by which we will presumably attract or please our American congregations.  Lest the brief discussion seem solely based on the negative, my appeal to you is to saturate the season’s worship with God-centered, Christ-pointed affection.  Love pointed toward all that is Christmas – God’s mercy and grace, affection toward God Himself and our neighbors as ourselves.

 

In this season we certainly re-tell the story, some use allegory, some try to be historically accurate, some place the birth story in the larger Gospel framework – something I hope we all find ways to convey clearly as part of our Christmas worship.  My appeal to you is that we will allow room for songs to tell more than just factual truth of a child born in a manger, but that they will express affections of the redeemed whose lives have been changed.

 

Is there some way to help believers recognize their part in conveying our common love of Savior in each corporate expression of praise and thanksgiving?  Sadly, a frequent practice is for us worship leaders to spend the month of December looking to re-warm the spirits of those who should already be white hot with passion, who should be simply looking to us leaders to guide toward those familiar words and tunes upon which will ride their vocal expressions of “Glory to God in the highest!” and “Hallelujah!” Perhaps during our time of greening the sanctuary we can rehearse the congregation to capture the proclamation and spirit of carol-singing.  What if “O come let us adore Him” was not a plea for church members to sing along, but was a raucous invitation by a unified voice of the church for others to see this Christ, the Lord to whom all glory is giv’n.  This is a time of year when there are more visitors who slip into worship than any other time of the year.  Yes, they may come to hear the music, see the production, or just attend in order to be with family.  Regardless, let’s give them the Gospel – not only the facts, but the evidence of faith gleaned from lives affected by the change that occurs in lives who sing with heart as well as voice in declaring “Joy to the World!”

 

Our friend, Keith Getty, wrote a blog regarding Christmas carols that is well worth reading.  In it he states,

 

Today carols continue to be one of the few remaining conduits that allow us to express our faith in the public square.  Amazingly, they’re heralded on secular radio, used in advertisements and sung on television throughout the holiday season.

See full article at http://www.gettymusic.com/news.aspx?id=338

 

Just imagine, people are hearing carols sung in these places, and upon stepping into our churches they can experience the songs from those who testify to have been changed by the Christ whose birth they proclaim.

 

Let all within us praise His holy Name!

Paul

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship thoughts

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