In the cool of December, the nights are longer. We need lights. We live in a world were lighted screens shine on our faces most of the day–computers, smart phones, TVs, and even the blinking lights of the microwave oven. We cannot escape light. But, there is something about decorating with lights and candles that brings mystery into the scene. Winter becomes livable and cozy. I absolutely love Christmas lights. I took the above picture last night with my iPhone with a macro lens attached. We decorate a tree each year for Christmas and lights are a part of that. This is our sixth Christmas here in Southern California and with local moves the third home within that same time. Our tree has been a constant over the years as seasons in life have transitioned my family. A small epiphany occurred last night. By turning off the lights in the house, it gave room for our tree to shine. Illumination to what goes on in our souls requires a moment like this. There is so much pain to face in the holiday season when deceased loved ones are absent from the dinner table, circumstances deal blows, and former friends no longer call on you. Darkness is a real part of Christmas. Let’s face it. It hurts to recall even the most joyous times. As years…
Thanks to all the Sunridge Church music, tech and staff for making this an amazing time together!
Merry Christmas (or Bah Humbug if you feel grumpy)… I thought I would leak out the naughty list for those who attend Christmas Eve services this year. (Tongue in cheek guys). Suzie I-get-up-and-have-to-go-pee-three-times-during-the-service is getting 1 lbs. of coal Jimmy my-kid’s-screaming-is-not-heard-by-anyone-around-me is getting 1.7 lbs. of coal Bob I-can-save-seats-I-really-don’t-need-for-people-who-will-come-very-late gets 2.4 lbs. of coal Julie I-will-sing-as-loudly-out-of-tune-as-possible-to-get-noticed is getting 1 oz. of coal Julie’s Mom who smiles with pride and encourages the obnoxious singing gets .5 oz. of coal The kid who is thinking about burning the lady’s hair in the row in front of him with his candle–SANTA CAN SEE YOU KID! Merry Christmas and hope to see you at our Christmas Eve worship tonight if you are in the Temecula-Murrieta Valley: Sunridge site OR Facebook Event link with info here!
Christmas is a good time to bring up the idea of sentimentality and its pull on us with any tradition. Christmas carols being sung in this season surely bring up warm feelings and many pictures of the past. However, how much value do we place on having our sentiment massaged over giving an offering in worship? The Incarnation of Jesus is one of the pillars of our faith. It is a rare time in modern culture that we can openly sing lyrics “Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace, hail the Sun of Righteousness.” For that, I love this time of year. But do we emphasize the warm fuzzies over the realities of who Jesus really is and how he desires to be worshipped? This idea of sentiment is an issue in worship music all year round. It could be missing a favorite singer or musician who cannot be scheduled as often as we like. Or, it could mean newer songs that do not have the rich context of the many years of a life lived walking with Jesus. To overcome sentimentality we need to embrace the new. Sing a new song! We need to reach new cultures, new people and allow the freedom from our sentimental side to be celebrated instead of mourned. So, where are you at with all of this? Do you think…
Thanks to Worshiptogether.com you can get 10 Free Christmas Worship Songs. Go here to get the music!
I am indeed a fan of downhere so of course I downloaded their very first full-length Christmas album. Today it debuts . Jeremy writes: “How Many Kings: Songs for Christmas” was a really fun album to do. We opted to self-produce this one which allowed us a lot of freedom to get creative and have fun in the process. For those of you who are familiar with downhere’s music, you won’t be disappointed: there are the trademark harmonies and piano combined with the theologically solid and well-crafted lyrics (there are 4 original songs on the album plus a new arrangement of “How Many Kings”). There are also a number of firsts on this album: Marc (who is French Canadian) sings French for the first time on a downhere record, I make my singing debut (don’t get too excited!), Jason’s dog makes an appearance, we record someone banging on a JUNO Award… just to name a few. Click the video below to watch a 6 minute “making-of” piece – Glenn did a great job putting it together. Click here to download the album directly from iTunes. I just downloaded, how about you?
Pretty obvious what is now on my mind… Christmas stage design here we come!!