Keith Getty is an Irish composer who is passionate about teaching the Christian faith through theologically rich hymns. We had the joy of hosting him, his wife, Kristyn, and Stuart Townend for an event this past September. I was inspired and challenged by Keith’s vision to use music to teach theology in the church. New Irish Hymns #3 (he’s produced 4 thus far) is dedicated to songs about the Incarnation. The musical style ranges from orchestral to light pop, with a touch of Celtic influence. Keith did all the orchestrations, and vocals are handled by Kristyn Getty, Margaret Becker, and Joanne Hogg. This project steers clear of nostalgia and sentimentalism, and is ALL about the purpose and plan of God in sending His Son to earth. If you’re looking for some meaty congregational worship songs this year, you will be well served by this project. Some of my recommendations: Glorious Light focuses on the wondrous song of the angels at Christ’s birth, and assures us that the world can not ultimately drown out the song of salvation. The last verse looks forward to Christ’s return: "There is a day all creation has longed for When all of time has been spent and the Lord returns His song we’ll repeat as heaven completes Promised peace that will fill the nations" Joy Has Dawned is filled with skillfully crafted poetry that highlights some of the paradoxes of Christ’s birth. Some might balk at verse 2 (Hands that set each star in place, Shaped the earth in darkness, Cling now to a mother’s breast, Vulnerable and helpless), but the song is overflowing with biblical truth. This is vs. 4: "Son of Adam son of heaven Given as a ransom Reconciling God and man Christ our mighty champion What a Saviour what a friend What a glorious mystery Once a babe in Bethlehem Now the Lord of history" Holy Child Who Chose the Hearts of Men helps us to marvel at Jesus’ humility in choosing "leaving Heaven’s gates for Bethlehem." (I would have chosen a less "cheery" musical setting, but hey, I didn’t produce the CD.) We have received eternal hope through our Savior’s grief and suffering in our place: "Though this road be scarred with trial and pain It’s paved with lavish grace Knowing Him will be my greatest gain His throne my resting place." Fullness of Grace accents the scandal of God becoming man and taking our guilt upon Himself. From vs. 2: "Christ the holy innocent Took our sin and punishment Fullness of God despised and rejected Crushed for the sins of the world." When Love Came Down to Earth, by Stuart Townend, is a song we’ve used all year round. We can’t hear the story of God coming to earth and remain unaffected. The chorus reminds us of the joy, peace, hope, and love we’ve received as a result of Jesus’ coming. My favorite verse: "When every unclean though and every sinful deed Was scourged upon His back and hammered through His feet The innocent is cursed the guilty are released The punishment of God on God has brought me peace." Our Messiah has indeed come. There are other songs I could highlight, but this post is already way too long. May you be more aware of the Father’s costly love during this season.
2 Responses to Songs for Christmas, #2
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Count me among the legions who have stumbled accross your blog. Really, while singing “When love came down to earth” yesterday God met me in a surprising and much-needed way. The Spirit did a great work in my heart and renewed my faith and hope. What a gift this song is!
If I’d read one day earlier, I’d have seen that my comment re the 9th December was completely redundant! You are already well on the ball. Our church has two services coming up this Sunday where we are using most of the songs from this collection. Blessings to you.