Archive | —Christmas

Christmas Services

All the World Was Waiting

Okay, this is really old school, but I thought a few of you might enjoy this song I wrote and arranged for GLAD back in the 90s for their Voices of Christmas album. I tried to capture the reality that all of life is waiting until that final day when we will see our Savior’s face and will have to wait no more. Here are the lyrics: All the world was waiting for the promised One. Prophets through the ages claimed that He would come. Would He be a warrior, or a conquering king? Could he be the one who’d save us from our sin and suffering? All the world was waiting the night that you were born. God of life eternal, in a fragile form. Shepherds …

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Song for Advent: Shine Into our Night

Each year as Christmas approaches we have the opportunity to remember in a more focused and thoughtful way why Jesus had to come to earth. It wasn’t plan B, it wasn’t optional, and it certainly wasn’t something we asked for. Paul tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5) The phrase “under the law” means we were justly condemned as transgressors and rebels before God, held captive by our sin, and in need of His mercy and forgiveness (Rom. 3:19-20). Of course, God did better than …

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Joy – An Irish Christmas by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Keith and Kristyn Getty are a musically gifted couple that do a few things really well. Those things include providing the church with songs that are theologically thoughtful, Christ-exalting, and likely to last a long time. Now they’ve provided us with a new album, Joy – An Irish Christmas, that displays those attributes in the context of Christmas carols, both old and new. Keith reflects on why Christmas carols are more than just sentimental songs at the end of the year: We would do well as worship leaders to remember that non-churchgoers are far more inclined to attend a church service during the Christmas season where songs are easy …

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Christmas Mystery

Christmas Mystery He who forged Earth’s iron core And scattered stars to distant skies Came shattered beauty to restore And answer lost ones’ mournful cries. A God who stands among the weak To lift each burden that they face, To lift away their bondage bleak And give them strength in holy grace. The star of hope for all the years, Though spoken of through ages past, Lies born in dust and blood and tears Without His glorious trumpets’ blast. Yet in His tiny hand He holds The power that built the mountains high. His glory shatters earthly molds As angels’ voices split the sky. The angel heralds call out clear To tell us of …

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Twenty Six Years Ago…In the First Light

Twenty six years ago I wrote a song for a friend who was doing a custom album. She was looking for an “all season Christmas song.” I set about writing a song that would highlight what happened before and after the birth of Christ. The result was a song called In the First Light. At the time I had just gotten off the road with the group GLAD. My arrangements and melodies for GLAD were typically on the complicated side, so I intentionally tried to write a simple melody. Ironically, it became one of my most well known songs. It was the first of many times I’d learn complex doesn’t always mean better. Last year Travis Cottrell did a version …

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Spontaneous Song for Those Facing Impossible Situations

During the Christmas season, many people find themselves in the midst of impossibly difficult circumstances. They find out the hard way that pain and sorrow are no respecters of holidays. For these individuals, Christmas becomes the most terrible time of the year. Recently I ran across an insightful and hopeful post by Matt Redmond called “Christmas is for Those Who Hate it Most.” He writes, “We have it sunk deep into our collective cultural consciousness that Christmas is for the happy people. You know, those with idyllic family situations enjoyed around stocking-strewn hearth dreams.” Matt then goes on to remind us that Jesus came for those …

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Songs For Christmas 2010

With Christmas fast approaching, I’m sure a lot of us are digging through last year’s Christmas music trying to find something new for this year to add to the traditional carols. With that in mind, here are some albums and songs you might want to check out. Traditional Carols has many excellent contemporary arrangements for churches that want to incorporate choirs and orchestral instruments. Use this link. offers a similar service, where you can download choral and orchestral parts for many hymns. offers something similar. O, Holy Night – alt. verses by Kevin Hartnett. Kevin is a member …

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One Quiet Moment

A few years ago I wrote a Christmas song for GLAD (my previous musical life) that reflected on Joseph and Mary’s humble submission in accepting their part in God’s plan of salvation. Hard to imagine the difficulty of that decision. But so grateful to God that they responded. The music seems a little dated to me now, but the truth of the lyrics still affects me. At the end, you can listen to/download the song. One Quiet Moment One quiet moment, on a star-clustered night, Two weary travelers knew an end was in sight; So the soon-to-be mother, grasped her husband’s strong hand, And paused to remember where the journey began. Nine months …

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A Few Christmas Songs Worth Checking Out

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 that contains …

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Helping People Glory in Christ at Christmas

This past Sunday I had the privilege of leading the singing at my home church. At Christmas time there’s sometimes a tension between choosing to sing songs that are “comfortably Christmasy” or songs that help people glory in the miracle of God becoming man. So here’s what we went with: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing Glory be to God free mp3 download (from the Savior CD) Emmanuel, Emmanuel (from the Savior CD) What Child is This? Before the Throne of God Above We started with Hark! the Herald Angels sing because it’s one of the most theologically rich Christmas carols we sing. After that, I shared that there are many things to love …

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Some Thoughts About Christmas Productions

A friend sent me this question, which she received from her father: I just found out that our church is charging for tickets to our Christmas event…music, drama etc. They want members to buy tickets to hand out for the event. I notice that lots of churches are doing this now. There’s a church in Florida that spends over a million dollars on their Christmas presentation, and charges up to $35 for their big Broadway production. What’s your take on this?…I have a dilemma…Do I continue to work on the music (a lot of it being secular Christmas songs) for the upcoming Christmas extravaganza and feel uncomfortable, or bail out and let the ministers …

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God is Born a Man Today – Merry Christmas

Last year we released an album of songs celebrating the Incarnation. We called it Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man. It was the CD my family started the day with this morning. Here are the words to the opening song, Christ the Lord, written by my good friend, Mark Altrogge. How my happy heart rejoices I can hear the angel voices “Christ is born” they all are singing From the sky this good news bringing Let the earth rejoice O come and lift your voices Christ the Lord is born today He came from heaven’s throne God is born a man today To bring His children home To bring His children home Death and darkness surely …

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Free Christmas Music CD

Last year we produced our first “Christmas” CD, called Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man. It contains twelve original songs that celebrate the incarnation of our Savior, and I think it’s one of our strongest projects. We wanted to put this album out because every Christmas a worship leader’s dilemma is finding new songs to sing. So we decided to contribute some new ones to the mix. I’d love for more people to know about this CD. So I’m going to give away a free copy of the Savior CD to the first 100 people who e-mail me and fulfill the following conditions: 1. You write a blog that gets over 1000 hits a month 2. You’ll write …

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Thoughts on Christmas

During my private worship this morning I was reading Mark Dever’s commentary on the New Testament, Promises Kept, transcribed from messages he’s given at his church. This morning I happened to be reading his sermon on 1 Timothy. Providentially, it was a message he first gave on Dec. 19, 1999, so it contains numerous references to Christmas. I wanted to share some of his comments with you, along with my thoughts. 1. Christmas isn’t about who’s been "naughty or nice." "The news we have to declare as Christians is not fundamentally about our law-keeping or our obedience. The glad tidings we bear are not for ‘good people.’ It is ‘for …

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Movie Soundtrack Recommendations

A friend just e-mailed me to ask me about a comment he heard me make at the last New Attitude Conference. I mentioned that I frequently listen to soundtracks when I’m studying, reading, or writing, and he was wondering which ones I have. I enjoy soundtracks because they don’t have words and if I haven’t seen the movie (which is often) I can make my own associations. They also enable me to  thank God for the gift of common grace which enables unbelievers to write music that expresses in some small degree the beauty and creativity of God. As I’m in the process of writing my book, I’m listening to music a lot these days. Since Christmas …

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