I know it’s late in the season, but I wanted to post some of the more solid Christmas songs, mostly for congregational worship, that I’ve come across this year. From my experience, Christmas carols are a mixed bag. Some beat around the “gospel bush” and hint at a universal brotherhood, while others clearly proclaim the good news that a Savior has been born to rescue rebellious sinners. I lean towards the second.
Every year I’m on the lookout for new songs that express the wonder of the Incarnation in a fresh way. Here are a few that I’ve found this year.
On Christmas Day – A song by Matt Osgood from www.RESOUNDworship.org that contains finely crafted theology in a 12/8 feel with an anthemic chorus.
This is our God, seen by our eyes
The love of the Father made known in Jesus Christ.
The lyrics highlight the seeming paradoxes of the Incarnation. Vs. 2 is one example:
The hands that once split night from day
Now feebly clutch a blade of hay,
This is Immanuel.
Majestic king, now small and weak,
The Word of God must learn to speak,
This is Immanuel.
CD: Glory in the Highest – Chris Tomlin
Chris has the uncanny ability gift of recording albums that make you want to sing. It could be the live congregation that provides clapping and moments of a cappella singing. It could be the contagiously singable melodies. Whatever it is, I found this to be one of the Christmas albums that stirs my heart to worship the incarnate Son of God. My suggestions for the congregation:
My Soul Magnifies the Lord – An uptempo song drawn from the Magnificat (Lk. 1:46-55), Lk. 2:11-14, and Is. 9:6. Filled with biblical imagery, the chorus explodes into an expression of gratefulness to the God who has done great things.
Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) – As you might have guessed, this is the standard Christmas carol with a new chorus, drawn from 1 Pet. 1:8. While you might wonder if Joy to the World needed a chorus, this one provides an opportunity to sing of the unspeakable joy that rises in my soul and never lets me go. Like many Tomlin songs, it will have to be lowered if you expect your church to sing it without passing out.
Light of the World – A Matt Redman song filled with Scriptural references including 1 Pet. 1:12, Is. 53, Eph. 2:14-16, Jn. 1:3, and Jn. 8:12. Reminds us of the prophecies that preceded Christ’s birth and the cross that followed it.
CD: On the Incarnation – Daniel Renstrom
Eight songs, half of them original, performed and written in a creative, theologically aware manner. Great for listening, arrangement ideas for familiar carols, or special music. A Christmas CD that can be played all year round. “Comfort Ye” is a beautiful ballad that contains these lyrics:
In Christ we know hope for the hurting
In Christ we know love for the lost
In Christ we know no other one can save
I know there’s plenty I just haven’t had time to listen to, so please add your thoughts on what songs, old or new, you’ve come across that effectively communicate the miracle and meaning of the Word become flesh to redeem us from our sins.