Christmas carols are great because everyone knows them and can sing along with them. However, along with that familiarity comes a sense of nostalgia that sometimes overshadows the fact that we are worshiping God when we sing these songs. Instead of thinking "here are some worship songs," it's easy for your congregation to just think "here are some Christmas songs that we always sing this time of year."
It's your job to push them past that understanding into acknowledging that the songs we get to sing this Christmas season are worship songs just like any other song you normally sing during a worship service.
Here are 3 ways to show people that Christmas songs are worship songs:
1 | Explain the meaning behind the song
When people understand why the song was written it helps them to engage with what's being sung. They're able to connect with the author's original and intent and adopt it as their own. Take some time to look up some stories about the songs you're leading this weekend. Who wrote them? When did they write them? And why did they write them? Every song has a story behind it, use these stories to move people into a deeper understanding of the song.
2 | Focus in on a specific line
Instead of giving the background of a song, you can simply explain a line of a song. Traditional carols were written a long time ago and sometimes use language that isn't common today. When you explain what a word or phrase means, it helps people understand what they're singing.
For example, did you know that the word Noel simply means Christmas in French? Even if you already knew that, the majority of the people in your church have no idea. So let them know that when you sing "the first noel" you're singing about the first Christmas!
3 | Create moments for people to respond during a song
Carols are traditionally sung straight through but what if you planned a moment for people to respond to what they're singing. After you explain a line or the background of a song, sing a few verses and then lead people through reflecting on what they just sang. Candle lighting is a perfect example of this - people raise their lights as they sing about "love's pure light."
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