Christmas is coming. Are you ready?
I don’t mean the shopping lists and stockings to stuff. Are you ready for Christmas as your church’s worship leader?
There are only two Sunday’s left until Thanksgiving… the first Sunday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the first Sunday I do Christmas songs. Are you ready to start decking halls and ringing bells?
It’s Not The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Christmas is a rough time for me as a worship leader. We only do christmas songs for a month out of the year. As worship leaders we have to know a lot more songs on Sunday morning than the average cover band that gigs out every Saturday night. Now here’s a bunch of songs with hard chord changes never meant for a guitar player that must be pulled off because it’s the season of peace on earth.
It IS The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The christmas season is a time where people are more open to church and more open to hearing about Jesus. The gospel is preached to the nation every time the Charlie Brown Christmas special is played on TV. We focus on the beginning of the Gospel, that God came to Earth and “He dwelt among us” (John 1:14). It’s a good time of year and generally these are good songs.
How Do You Make It The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
I’m not claiming to be an expert on this but here’s some of what I’m doing and hopefully it’s helpful
-Start Christmas music now: I heard someone ask when it was ok to play christmas music? For everyone else it’s the day after Thanksgiving (or the ride home from grandma’s if you’re my mom). For the worship leader it should have been weeks ago. I’m remembering songs, looking for new ones, rediscovering old ones. Be early, be prepared.
-Make a list: I’m putting a list together of the christmas songs I want to do. There is no rule that says you must do every christmas song ever written. In many, if not most churches you would be better off not doing every christmas song ever written.
-Set a Tone: There are a hundred different ways to do O Come O Come Emmanuel, and fifty different ways to do O Holy Night. Pick one, and stick with it. If you have more than one worship leader, talk it out whether or not that applies to them too. Also, if you’re doing O Come Emmanuel Rock and We Three Kings Jazz and Away in a manger country, you might come off disjointed so maybe try and make the tone jive from one song to another?
-Pick a New Song: One of the problems with Christmas music is picking up new songs. There’s just not a lot of time to do it with only a month time frame. I decided a few years back to introduce one new song each Christmas. Last year it was “Manger Throne” by Julie Miller, not sure yet what it’ll be this year.
-Practice: We are having a special practice for christmas music. There’ll be food and I’m thinking about making it Ugly Christmas Sweater. The point is that I’m trying to make it fun. I also plan to hand out a CD sampler of the style and vibe for the songs the week before. Good communication is good. (That’s correct grammar right?)
Hope that helps. If you have better thoughts (and you probably do) chime in on the comments.