Thinking Out Loud

December 22, 2009

Creativity and Christmas Worship

I think it was last year, or maybe the year before, there was a lot of debate among worship leaders online concerning “the carols.”  (Quotation marks intentional.)   Some worship leaders were caught up in doing the “latest hot worship song” and didn’t want to interrupt that just because December 25th was looming large on the calendar.

But this year, the church Mrs. W. and I attended for Christmas Sunday did nothing but the classics.   A rhythmic change here.   An extra bridge there.   But there was something missing.   It just didn’t show any imagination when it came to selecting the actual worship material.  It left my heart longing for more.

So at 11:30 that night, I found myself heading over to Fred McKinnon’s blog and clicking whatever it is you click on there to actually open the Sunday Setlist link options and see what others had experienced that day.  (Since that page has the links, you can catch them all there, or this will take me forever to post.)

Turned out a lot of worship leaders were fairly worn out after a long and busy day, and at first not many had posted their weekly list.  But a few had posted some things worthy of mention:

  • First, one I expected to see much more was “Offering” by Paul Baloche; in particular the verse that isn’t normally sung:  Over the town of Bethlehem appeared a star, while angels came to lowly shepherds… (Sometimes called “Christmas Offering”)
  • Mike Ymo suggests that “O Praise Him” by David Crowder has always reminded him of the angels visiting the shepherds
  • Kim Bontrager used “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)” by Barlow Girl
  • Harold Forbis used “Born That We Might Have Life” one of many songs from the number one Christmas album of 2009 by Chris Tomlin
  • David Goodwin, from down under, had access to “His Glory Appears,” from Hillsongs, which as far as I can tell, hasn’t been released here yet
  • Ronnie Burgess (Mando Ron) listed “God With Us” by MercyMe (good choice) but was also in the middle of a U2-theme where they used “Pride (In the Name of Love)” which, when you think about it…
  • Doug Thorsvik listed “Celtic Christmas Blessing” by Keith and Krystin Getty, writers of “In Christ Alone;” though I couldn’t find an audio sample for this one when I wanted to check it out
  • Dennis Arriaga listed some other songs I’d like to try to track down, but also included the ever-popular “How Great Is Our God;” which again, when you think about it…
  • Jim Drake listed “Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)” by Chris Tomlin
  • Bobby Giles lists a Sojourn Music composition, “Glory Be” with a lyric sample that makes me really want to hear the whole song: 
  • Hallelujah! The Lord of life has come
    to reconcile the nations to our God
    Hallelujah! He’s coming back again
    to finish what began in Bethlehem …

  • Gary Durbin lists a couple of songs from Third Day’s Christmas album
  • Barry Westman lists “Glory to God Forever” by Steve Fee Band
  • H. L. McConnel mentions “Joy Has Dawned Across The Earth” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Is this the same one Margaret Becker recorded on New Irish Hymns? Or is it the one Bethany Dillon recorded on In Christ Alone?
  • No one listed this, but Brits and Canadians are very prone to use “Meekness and Majesty” by Graham Kendrick at Christmas

I didn’t list everything posted on Sunday Setlists, and there were probably some great songs done the week before (December 13) as there will be the week after Christmas (December 27); but I hope you can see that there’s a lot of creativity out there, and there are many songs to choose from which will cause people to lift up their hearts in an attitude of worship.

The classic carols are great, but sometimes are heart longs to sing a new song.  (Isaiah 42:10)

Check out the Sunday setlists weekly at Fred and this week in particular at this link.


Every once in awhile you run across a blog whose title makes a statement. This is Doug Thorsvik's. Click on the image to link.

The image at the top of the page is from the East Wall of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in West Bend, Wisconsin, USA

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