I’ve often said that in my job it’s “Christmas all year round!” It seems as though no matter the month, there is almost always Advent and Christmas music at some stage of production on my desk.
Working ahead is critical, so we actually start in the Fall for the next year’s Christmas season. It’s planning time… we review manuscripts and make writing assignments, building our catalogs anthem by anthem. The recording process… from editing and preparing the music… to creating the instrumental tracks… working with our incredible singers… and finally hearing and approving the finished mixes… keeps us busy through the Winter months. In the Spring, the new music is finished, in stock and ready. Finally, in the Summer, we hit the road and bring it all to you via reading sessions and workshops… and online… so you can have it in your hands and ready to go for your first Fall rehearsals. With a production schedule like this, it really does seem like Christmas “365!”
As a church musician, when the Advent and Christmas seasons finally do arrive, my biggest challenge is not allowing the music that has been with me for the last 12 months to become so familiar and routine that I miss the depth and meaning of its message. It is so easy for that to happen.
Perhaps you can relate to this in your ministry, too, as you program and prepare for your December services. Add to this the overall busyness of the season, with extra rehearsals, more special music, additional services and maybe even a cantata to present… it’s no wonder that we can sometimes lose sight of the simple beauty of the Christmas story: Christ is born!
So, for this issue, allow me to share with you just a few anthems that really bring home that message. My hope is that they will minister to you, as they have to me.
- A Christmas Blessing, Pamela Stewart, Lloyd Larson
- Emmanuel, Laura Story, arr. Heather Sorenson
- O Wondrous Night, Joseph M. Martin
- Winter Snow, Audrey Assad/Chris Tomlin, arr. Bruce Greer
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6