This time of year can get pretty crazy. Worship leaders and music directors find themselves scrambling to play extra-new songs, find fresh arrangements, and add fun visual elements to church services. We all want to communicate the message of the Incarnation with power, sincerity and a bit of pizzazz.
But sometimes, all the extra stuff (and all the extra work) can cause us to miss out on the joy of the season, the message of the Messiah. In the midst of all the worries, the pressure, the stress and exhaustion, we forget to celebrate. Instead of singing like the angels, we become the church curmudgeon, bitter and ready for the caroling to be over. I know if I don’t guard my heart during this season, I can miss the whole point
That being said, we planned our Dec.17th Christmas Celebration with this question in mind- how can we intentionally keep Christ in the forefront of it all? This question has been my center point as I designed a setlist for this big event. From the very beginning, I purposed to communicate both the Incarnation and the hope of salvation in our music, while still presenting the story in a fresh way.
It begins months before as we gather a long list of potential songs, and from there we narrow it down based on several factors. First, does it communicate the message well? Often we’ll love a song, but it may not fit the theme we’re going for that year.
Secondly, this year we wanted to place a high value on participation. We want people to worship along with us, not just listen and clap politely after each song. So we looked for songs that would create special moments for the church to join in the singing.
Our church is a multi-cultural melting pot, so my next goal was to choose songs that relate cross-culturally as much as possible. This year we chose a few rock pieces, an a capella number, and an incredibly fun (and difficult!) gospel medley!
Lastly, this year’s celebration is designed to include every generation of our church. So we chose songs that each age group could have some fun with!
As I write this, we’re still several days away from the 17th. I hope you’ll join us that night at one of our campuses or online as we celebrate Jesus. But more importantly, my prayer is that you seek to place Christ at the forefront of more than a service or a setlist, but above everything else in your life.
May you have a joyful and blessed Christmas!