Several weeks ago I posted some ideas for Advent; now it's almost time for Christmas! Are you looking for some new songs to complement the carols? I'll cover a few of those first, then move into updated version of the classics.
I had a request for some contemporary song ideas for Reformation, which I had sort of jumped over – along with All Saints and Christ the King – to get to Advent. So here are a few ideas for each of these special Sundays in October and November.
For my Advent/Christmas update this year, I’m going to try and maintain some degree of separation between these two liturgically distinct seasons. In a way, the progression of the church’s seasons in December reflects the movement from the “Kyrie” to the Song of Praise in historical liturgy. We express our need for God – through longing, hope, and expectation – in Advent, and then celebrate the fulfillment of that need, God’s answer to our longing, in the coming of Christ. You’ll have to decide whether your congregation will stand for not singing any Christmas songs before December 24, but consider holding off enough to maintain the Advent mood. For this post we’ll stay in Advent, and follow with a Christmas post soon.
As the musical aspect of evaluating worship songs is a very contextual question (see part I), lyrics are the primary way I evaluate songs for inclusion in my song lists. Along with the development of a worship set or liturgy (see my earlier series Worship in 7 Movements), this is perhaps the area most in need of theological reflection in the contemporary worship scene. The first thing to realize is that just because someone is a “worship artist,” does not mean everything they write or perform is going to be appropriate for congregational worship. In general, five values inform my selection of congregational worship music:
For many church praise teams, Christmas can be a challenge. Where do I find good contemporary arrangements of Christmas music? What songs from our regular repertoire work for this season? Here’s your all-in-one Advent/Christmas guide. I realize this will already be too late for some of you to use this year. If so, keep it bookmarked for next year, and I'll be sure to update it early.
WorshipInDepth evaluates current worship music in depth theologically so that the worship in our churches engages and addresses the whole person and community in depth. Join the conversation! More...
My name is Matthew Anderson I am a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Victorville, CA, and a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. I've also done some post-graduate work at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I have been leading worship in various contexts for over a decade. More...