Posted by Paul Baloche on 10 June 2014

I’ve often found Christmas a challenge. But not for the usual reasons. For me, one of the biggest struggles has been played out at church, in worship. We have such a rich heritage of Christmas-themed songs, yet so many of them don’t seem to fit with the way we do things today. 
   
I love pulling out these standard Christmas carols that we only seem to sing once a year, but I’ve found that very few of them are sung to the Lord. Instead, they sing about Him. 

Does that matter? I think it does. I think that it is so important in our congregational worship times to get our hearts going "vertical." More than at any other time, Christmas is the season when we need to be reminding people that Jesus isn’t just a character in the story, He is the perfectly approachable and totally loving Christ of Christmas.

That’s why, during the month of December, I will sometimes add a simple tag at the end of a familiar carol that gets us singing to the Lord instead of just about the Lord. It’s like breathing; the carols allow us to inhale all this wonderful content, while the added tags allow us to exhale a simple worship response back to God. 

For example, at the end of "O Come Let Us Adore Him," try adding a chorus of "O Jesus we adore You, O Jesus we adore You" over the same chord progression. Or why not take a song like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and at the end, where we sing "glory to the newborn King," add a simple tag by holding the final chord, carrying on with the drums and start singing out a simple melody that the congregation can pick up with words like "we give You glory Lord, we give You glory." 

In the run up to this Christmas, why not practice a little? Put aside some rehearsal time to experiment with different approaches until you find a melody and chord progression that helps a Christmas carol become a more vertical worship song. Remember to keep it simple, keep worshipping and keep experimenting.

More like this

The One Simple Thing That We Often Forget About Fasting

Jesus expected his followers to fast. But He didn’t expect them to make a big deal out of it. Why is it that that some people spend more time drawing attention to themselves than to their cause? Thankfully Matthew 6:16-18 can...

Majesty In A Manger - "Son Of God, Son Of Man" Song Devotional

Isaiah 53 reminded us of the fact that Jesus died because we messed up, and this passage in Romans carries on the theme. It's all so clear; each of us are sinners in desperate need of Jesus’s heart of mercy that longs to atone for us. It was only His blood that could pay the price, bringing us back out of exile and home to God.

What Does Your Faith Look Like? (Lent Devotion Week 3)

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites: “When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands – ‘“If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord...

Free Songs