It’s been on your calendar since January 1st. You knew it was coming. Every year it comes. You feel the impending rush of the “Yule-tide.”
Planning set lists in advance requires many worship leaders to start listening to Christmas songs in October, or earlier. So by the time December saunters in with its red and green, we tend to be all Christmas-ed out. Yet here we are with our annual chance to gift-wrap a few incarnation themed worship tunes for our merry congregations… but many of us just aren’t feeling “in the Christmas spirit.”
What do we do???
Let me start with an affirmation of your calling. Leaders of worship are called to facilitate celebration, adoration and revelation. Some of us sing. Some of us play instruments. All of us love Jesus.
No doubt you’ve heard the cliché line, “Remember the reason for the season.” It may seem rote and rehearsed by well-meaning followers of Christ, but don’t make the mistake of looking past this simple truth…
Jesus came! He came here! And for US! The doctrine of the incarnation should fuel our celebration of the “season” of Christmas.
There’s a principle that most student pastors know… (Go find your student pastor and take them to a nice lunch… Lord knows they need to eat something other than pizza and Dr. Pepper every once and awhile). At the heart of student ministry is the necessity of presence. Notice I said, “presence” not “presents.” Presence in the student ministry realm means that if you physically show up for a teenager, you are affirming who they are. They feel seen… known… loved. This is one of the many things that God accomplished by sending Jesus to us.
He came to us… onto our turf…. into our mess… to gift us the present of presence. And by doing so we are seen, known and loved.
So here are 3 practical tips to navigate the holiday hustle around your church:
- Reread the incarnation story through a celebratory lens.
- Matthew 1, Luke 2
- Make a list of ways that you have seen God work in the life and ministry of your church over the past year. (Enlist the help of your staff and team)
- Choose worship songs that vocalize a response to the presence of God at work in and through your church.
- Listen to “non-Christmas” worship songs.
- Utilize worship songs that have incarnational language in addition to the standard Christmas hymns to fully paint a picture of the work of God through the coming of Christ Jesus.
This Christmas season, resist the lure of working Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” into your setlists and instead focus of songs that tell the story of Jesus coming for us…
To see us…
To know us…
To love us!
About the author:
Clint Hudson is a worship pastor, songwriter and touring artist/speaker. He has collaborated with artist and musicians from a wide variety of styles and backgrounds. He is the founder of 12th Man Ministries, an organization that focuses on helping professional and student athletes understand that their true identity is found in more than their athletic performance. For more information, please take the time to visit www.12thmanministries.org.