New Songs for Christmas
December 3, 2010
Updated November 29, 2020
4 comments 924 views
It is with great courage that a worship leader deviates from the traditional Christmas carols at Christmas but there may be situations which call for a new song.
Churches that use more contemporary music in particular might be seeking something to add to the expected repertoire. If that is your church then consider the offerings from the website worshiptogether.com. If you type “Christmas” in the search box you will get no less than 240 results. Some that rise to the top in my mind is Emmanuel/Hallowed Manger Ground (Ed Cash/Christ Tomlin, 2009), Born in Bethlehem (Third Day, 2006), and Joy Has Dawned (Getty/Townend 2004).
How Many Kings (Marc Mantel/Jason Germain, 2006) is another great song; though not on this website it is available in the latest Advent issue of Reformed Worship. Some of these songs do not use inclusive language for people; sometimes you can receive permission to change the text but not always.
If you are looking to add a global song to your repertoire, consider In the Heavens Shone a Star from the Philippines (Global Songs for Worship #28).
As for new hymns, a great first place to look is at the hymnals on your shelf. On the web consider the offerings of the online hymnody through Hope Publishing. If you type “Christmas” in the theme search box you will receive a list of 193 hymns with the newest offerings highlighted in Green and best sellers in Purple. All the music on this site is downloadable if you have a valid CCLI or Onelicense.net copyright license. You may also contact Hope for permission for a one time use.
What is your church singing this Advent/Christmas season? Are you considering teaching any new songs? If so, which ones?
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Here's our 2 Advent setlists so far........I'd say the border on they creatively insane (makes me love our worship leaders :)):
Nov. 28 Setlist:
Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog (Three Dog Night)
Joy to the World (Traditional)
Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
O Holy Night (Traditional with violin solo)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Jars of Clay version)
How Great is Our God (chorus/bridge only)
Dec. 5 Setlist:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (dark, minor, guitar-driven)
All Who Are Thirsty (Vineyard)
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Chris Tomlin)
The Glory of It All (David Crowder)
O Little Town of Bethlehem (traditional with lead guitar feature)
Advent is always a hard time for churches with full bands because musicians STRONGLY DISLIKE traditional Christmas carols, for whatever reason (they claim boredom). Every season, I seem to lose 1-3 musicians during Advent. This year, I've already lost 2. We really tried to incorporate some of our regular music that has Christmas overtones (All Who Are Thirsty is a great example with its chorus, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come"). Its a tricky business and a great challenge for our young worship leaders - but I think its exciting, too, to give them the challenge of picking great Christmas music AND challenging our musicians.
I'll offer here some "newer" Christmas/Advent songs that have risen to the top over the years in several different worship settings. All of these I would highly recommend.
*Rejoice (Billy James Foote)--GREAT, joyful song. Very acoustic-rock feel. Our Sunday School kids often sing it at their Christmas program and do a great job. Our whole congregation sings it too.
*Unspeakable Joy (Chris Tomlin)--Joy to the World with a new chorus. As it is on the recording (D to E), it's very high. (arggh, you crazy tenor, Chris Tomlin!!) This year we're going to be trying G to A, capo on 2 for our guitarists (i.e., A to B).
*Humble King (Brenton Brown)--very mellow, probably best as a "special" number (be sure to use the little known first verse which shows that this was really originally a Christmas song!)
*Christmas Offering (Paul Baloche)--same as his "Offering" but an added Christmas verse. Nice! The little violin part that the Casting Crowns version has is a must!
*We Will Exalt You (Terry Butler)--old school Vineyard, but I still love it and works very well. We have sequenced bells which make it very cool!
*Holy Is His Name (John Michael Talbot)--a beautiful version of Mary's Song. Slow, contemplative, and just opens up into a beautiful chorus at the end.
*Come, O Redeemer, Come" (Fernando Ortega)--Advent song: great, singable, song of confession. Our congregation really loves this one. A violin is very nice to have for it.
"One Small Child" by David Meece (written when he was 14 years old!) is becoming a favourite at Telkwa CRC.
"Mary, Did You Know?" by Mark Lowry is a personal favourite, not sure if I've sung it with a congregation yet.
By the way, Reformed Worship has a MIDI file for "How Many Kings" (a song I recently discovered and am quite enjoying), but I suggest listening to it with this YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UyiAnUE53U .
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