If you’re a worship leader, you’re probably tired right now.
The Christmas season is upon us. Attendance is up, expectations are high, and there’s tons of new music to learn.
Slow down. Take a deep breathe. Realign your heart with what matters most in this moment. Hope is here. Jesus has come to save. The glories of the Gospel are just as real as they were 2,000 years ago in a Bethlehem stable.
This is the reason we’ve decided to release some new Christmas songs. Matter of fact, they are available today. We’re so excited to share with you Light of the World by Allison Park Worship.
The beauty of Christmas carols is not their originality but how they cause us to reflect. This season is filled with moments where we are brought face to face with our own materialism, worry, stress, and struggle. But we are reminded to see all of this within the glorious light that a Savior has come.
In this post I want to just give a brief overview of the songs and some of the production notes behind this new project, Light of World by my team and I at Allison Park Worship. I know many of you are songwriters and producers, pastorally seeking to write songs and create environments where your church can connect with God. Maybe a little behind the scenes glimpse into this project will inspire your own. I hope it does.
First off, all of these songs were arranged to be a part of our past Christmas Eve services. We don’t typically write for an “album”, so to speak but want to create fresh arrangement of classic hymns for our church to sing to the Savior over Christmas.
With that being said, here we go:
1.O Come All Ye Faithful – While this song isn’t typically considered “upbeat”, we wanted to create an arrangement of this classic that could work well as an opening song in church. Those opening “call to worship” songs are so important in orienting our hearts towards God as well as helping us relax and get focused. Most people don’t come to church “ready” to worship. That’s what we wanted to accomplish with this tune – helping people orient their hearts at the beginning of a worship set.
2. Hark the Herald (Glory) – Again, solid upbeat songs are tough to come by so we wanted to create a more synthed-out version of this classic hymn. This is probably my favorite Christmas song of all time. I love the rich theology and the arc of the melody. The main thrust of the song is the cry of the angels “Glory to the newborn King,” so we wanted to write a closing chorus that echoed that cry. We switch time signatures from 4/4 to 6/8 at the end and rock out a bit.
3. Come Emmanuel (Here Now) – I’ve always loved the haunting melody to this tune. I also love the Old Testament prayer for Emmanuel to come, but wanted to add some New Testament hope. So the song has two parts – the opening prayer for Emmanuel to come, and the closing declaration that echoes his entrance into the world:
Here now, Jesus has come. Light of the world, Savior of all. Forever, Christ at the center. Nothing else matters. You are our God.”
We wanted the first section to be haunting and reflect the darkness that we were under before Christ came. That’s where the hard tuning and vocoder and darker piano chords come from. The end opens up into a worshipful chorus, expressing the hope we have in Jesus.
4. Holy Night – Probably the most classic Christmas song ever. We’ve recorded this once before in more classical way. So we reimagined it slightly more upbeat and driving. Definitely a Sigur Ros influence on the piano melody. Again, such great lyrics here.
I pray these songs help you slow down and reflect over the next couple weeks as we prepare for Christmas services.
Remember, the Savior has come. The Light of the World.
How are you handling this season? What songs are you doing for your Christmas services?
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