Christmas Music and Keeping Your Holiday Season Focused
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone - but it’s especially busy for the worship director.
Have you ever tried making a list of all the classic Christmas songs everyone likes to sing? Everyone has a different favorite, and there are so many of them that make people say, “It’s not really Christmas without this one!”
Well, I tried to make a comprehensive list. Let’s just say, it’s long and perpetually incomplete. There are always more songs that can be added.
For example, you’ve got the classic Christmas carols. Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Joy To The World, and so on. Luckily, these can almost all be found in the hymnals we keep in the church. Just check all around Hymn #100, and you’ll find them.
Then there are the new classics. Many of these aren’t appropriate for a church setting. This list includes all the Santa and fable-related songs like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It also includes the even less church-appropriate songs like Santa Baby and Baby It’s Cold Outside.
And then, of course, there are the remakes on the old classics - those songs that artists take and redo over and over again until they get something slightly different than everything else on the market today. Because every singer and their dog has a Christmas album.
You see, the reason why this vast list of songs makes my Christmas season a little more difficult is because I sort through them and try to squeeze the best and most popular songs into a short three or four weeks in December. At 5 songs a week (or less, because of special music and other service activities), that comes out to maybe 18 songs.
A mere 18 songs out of that whole list seems simply microscopic! Especially since we usually like to repeat new songs (or new versions of songs) so that the congregation can learn them!
It’s been said that the worship director has one of the most stressful jobs in the marketplace today (according to CNN Money). And this is why: How can I possibly make everyone happy when I have to shrink the whole Christmas music culture into just a few services?
The answer is simple: I can’t.
This is a concept that is difficult to remember, but vitally important to apply to everyday life - even outside of music, and especially during this time of year. We don’t have to do it all by ourselves. We don’t have to force everything to be special. We are not required to make everyone happy.
Trying to make everyone happy is unnecessarily stressful. And that stress can create a snowball effect (winter pun intended) that will grow and grow, making even the simplest tasks terribly arduous. Whenever I accidentally let myself get to this point, I just want to crawl back into bed with some hot cocoa and hibernate until New Year’s.
The best way to combat this kind of stress is to remember that God is in control, that season only comes once a year, and that it’s not all about making everyone happy. It’s about remembering that God sent His Son to this world to pay the price for our sins - so that we don’t have to fret over the little things! 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to cast all our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. Additionally, He takes care of us. Even when everything starts to fall apart.
Put God first this Christmas season. Protect your time with Him. The Prince of Peace is yours to hold onto. Do this, and you’ll find that the stress and chaos will start to melt away.
Worship & Media Director
Riviera Baptist Church