Christmas is a wonderful time of the year! I believe this to be true in large part due to the music of the season. There is nothing better than hearing the songs of the season in malls, restaurants, radio stations, and most of all in church. It seems that at Christmastime, a worship leader never needs to pump the congregation for energy. It is instant and spontaneous!
However, Christmas music in church can create somewhat of a quandary for some churches. If the style of your church music is more on the contemporary side, it can be difficult to sing Christmas music while staying true to the DNA of your church music style. Some churches will just abandon their style during Christmas and will revert to a more traditional style of church music. In our church, December is a month where we use the organ more than any other month of the year simply because of the nature of Christmas carols.
Is there a way to sing Christmas music while staying true to a contemporary style? Below I’ve listed some songs that our church has enjoyed singing. Most of them are new arrangements of the old Christmas carols. I think you will find them helpful, enjoyable, and fresh for your congregation. Fortunately more writers are beginning to produce updated arrangements of our well-loved classics.
1. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” arranged by Jars of Clay, heard on the album Christmas Songs (songbook available). This offers the same basic melody line with some twists.
2. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” arranged by Chris Tomlin, heard on the album Glory in Highest (songbook available). We use Tomlin’s “Joy to the World” off this CD as well.
3. “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” arranged by Daniel Renstrom, heard on the album On the Incarnation (chords available from link).
4. “Christ the Lord Is Born Today” by Mark Altrogge, heard on the album Savior (chord and piano music available from link).
5. “Silent Night” by Matt Maher (chords and free mp3 available from link).
6. “Welcome to Our World” by Michael W. Smith. Available from www.wordmusicnow.com. Full orchestration available for download.
Enjoy these resources, and have a wonderful Christmas!