Worship Textfessional Dec. 9th – Beginning Christmas

  • Everlasting God – Lincoln Brewster’s version – A
  • O Praise Him – Crowder – G
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – MercyMe’s version – G
  • Joy to the World – Third Day’s version – D?
  • Here is Our King in 3/4 into O Come, O Come Emmanuel – G and D respectively

It’s Christmas time and it only comes once a year so we started doing Christmas songs this past weekend. Musically/technically things I noticed:

  • Scale – we had a slim band this week. Only a 4 piece. Singers were sick or had a conflict so there was no backing vocals. Simple setup of drums, bass, and electric and acoustic guitars. So I tried looking at some things at their scale as far as bigness of some of the songs. We compensated for a lack of keys or organ with the guitars and spent some time looking at intros and musical interludes. I think musically no one noticed.
    What was noticeable was not having any backing vocals! I’m not big on vast numbers of backing vocals and parts but having NO ONE isn’t ideal and I noticed it this week, especially on these songs. I probably wouldn’t have chosen O Praise Him or Joy to the World. Actually, it was noticeable even on Everlasting God. Ah well, what do you do?

The big conversation came though from conversations regarding “appropriateness.” I approach Christmas songs like I do hymns: They’re great songs but we’ve sung them the same way for ages and for ‘relevancy’ sake they could use some updating to connect to a new generation.  NOW, I realize that is a weighty statement and I hope it doesn’t offend, it’s not meant to. Hymns are relevant to many churches, I believe for the sake of the people at our church and who makes up our congregation, the revamped hymns are much more effectively engaging people in worship than singing them traditionally. And I felt the same about Christmas songs.

MercyMe’s It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is one of my favorite’s off that CD. Third Day’s Joy to the World I find very traditional yet with a fun new chorus! I had a small bit in my stomach saying that having 2 Christmas songs done very contemporary might be trouble and while I was extremely pleased, my suspicions were proven true in our worship planning meeting. Too much change all at once. What was an interesting comment that I received though was this: Christmas songs bring with them memories and emotion and by playing them in a revamped and new style it’s like saying that those times were irrelevant and replaceable. (That’s the best I remembered. It honestly dumbfounded me.) I’ve been thinking about that alot since our meeting because it’s scaring me. That’s definitely NOT the intention at all and I don’t want that to even be conveyed in the slightest. So there’s some disconnect here because if I heard say, Angels We Have Heard on High being banged out on the piano with a 4 part robed choir singing at a church I attended or visited, I would turn around as soon as everyone began rolling around the “Gloooo-ooooo-oooo-ria” and walk out shaking my head and be the first in line at Jason’s Deli for lunch that day. However, if I heard them play that tune for example as MercyMe has arranged it or with any fresh twist to it that was still singable I’d have the biggest grin on my face and turning to Rae going, “Can you believe this? YEAH! Can you believe it?”

It’ll be an interesting remainder of the year.


1 Response to “Worship Textfessional Dec. 9th – Beginning Christmas”

  1. December 13, 2007 at 10:41 am

    I’m totally with you – I compare most Christmas carols to nursery rhymes. We just go through them and smile because it brings back childhood memories and associations with Christmas which may or may not be connected to the gospel.

    So I got your back!! 🙂

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