Wednesday, November 20, 2013

We're singing NEW Christmas carols?

One of my favorite holiday traditions is Christmas caroling with my family and childhood friends.  Since I live far from my Old Kentucky Home I can't always make it...but this year I'll be there!  I'll be fresh off the plane and under the influence of Drammamine, but I'll be there in body anyway.  

Many of the people for whom we carol were Sunday School teachers, GA leaders, Deacons, and Choir members.  Many are part of my great cloud of witnesses.  It is an evening of joy and reflection.  

Though we're happy most of the evening, there are also times of sadness.  Last year's elderly couple is this year's widower.  We swallow back the lump in our throats and sing, and even when the tears come they are a mix of mourning and gratefulness and family.  Hugs and love and support and community abound.  The whole evening is a gift.                                                                                                        

Some of our favorite carols are 'Silent Night' and 'O Come All Ye Faithful.'  The familiar tunes are nice since carol-ees can join in with the carolers.  We also remember singing these songs throughout the years with family and friends.  Singing these songs together is a gift.

I am excited to sing with my Scottsville Baptist family too.  Our choir is busily preparing for the Advent and Christmas seasons.  We have selected six new-to-us carols to share with the congregation on December 22nd.  At first I think we were hesitant to pick new songs since familiar ones are so loved, but we are trying to step out of our comfort zones!  Way to go, choir!

As we were practicing last night the lyrics to one of the songs startled me.  That's the thing about new songs:  It's difficult to miss the words because we're still stumbling over them!  With new songs, the meaning has a greater chance to grab us.  Consider the last verse of one of our new-to-us songs, 'Our Savior's Infant Cries Were Heard'

For Christ, who was a refugee
From Herod and his sword,
Is seeking now, thro' us, to be
Our children's friend and Lord

Naming Christ as refugee is powerful to me.  I have always known Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt, but never had I captured that imagery by naming them refugees.  Sometimes one word is all it takes to paint a picture.  My mind began racing with the vulnerability of refugees and the care of the least and lost.  It is a powerful song.

I am excited for our choir to share these new-to-us carols on December 22nd.  I am also excited to share a service of Lessons and Carols on December 29th.  We'll be sure to sing many familiar and beloved songs.  

As we sing familiar carols this holiday season, let's make room for new songs, which may have a word for us too.  Listen to the lyrics of new-to-you carols.  See the story with different eyes.  And when we do sing 'Silent Night' let us listen closely to the power of its words--not only for nostalgia's sake--but for the awesome wonder of the Christ child's coming to the world.

Scottsville Baptist Choir


  1. amen! you're so right about being more aware of the words when we sing a new song! i'm going to look the one you mentioned up. pretty sure i've seen it in our hymn book! merry christmas!

    1. Thanks Dawn:). All of our carols are from the Baptist hymnal. Hope you are well:). Say hi to Staunton for me. I love your town.

  2. I'd be interested to see the six carols you chose.

    1. Hi Matt. At our retreat we flipped through the hymnal and tried to select carols we a) didn't know b) told different parts of the story. Our first song is Advent-ish "Arise, Your Light is Come." (We will probably also consider "He's Coming" but that's not on the list right now.) We also chose "Gentle Mary Laid Her Child," "Sing Hosanna," "O Come Little Children," "As With Gladness" and "Our Savior's Infant Cries." I wasn't familiar with any of these. Some of the tunes were familiar, and maybe I'd heard "O Come, Little Children."

      Hope you are well!