December 20, 2016

I’m always excited by Christmas music and worship, and love talking with people about it. Though you may not read this article until a few days after the 25th, I thought it would be fun to talk about the season anyway.
    
As a musician, my first thought when I know Christmas is coming is about how much work it takes. Everyone wants Christmas to be perfect, special, different from last year, and the list goes on. This usually means a lot of pressure. And usually that means more pressure than is necessary. Why do we as musicians and worship leaders do this to ourselves? Is it necessary? I would venture to say no. All of that pressure helps no one in the long run. All it does is put us on edge and inhibit how effective we are in the grand scope of things. So let’s talk about solution for this problem. We as the leaders of programming and execution of major activities in our community have to learn and practice the art of delegation. Learn to share responsibilities with your cohort. Ask for help!
    
Call me cheesy, but Christmas music is some of my favorite. It is fun for me. I know all the words, I know the melody, I know the chords, it brings back great memories for me. Many of you will feel the same way, I’m sure. However, I think we need to keep in mind that not everyone out there feels the same way. Let’s be sensitive to that. Some people struggle during the holidays and may have negative memories or connotations linked to Christmas music. Does this mean we need to exclude Christmas music from our celebrations and worship? Not necessarily, but perhaps we can include a hymn or two here or there to play to the strengths of those folks. Additionally, just be sensitive to these folks. Perhaps they could use a little extra support in or out of the worship experience this time of year.
    
Next on the list of things to be mindful of this time of year. The key you choose for the songs you’re doing. We’ve all made this mistake, myself included. We’ve got that one soprano on our worship team. She just “nails” that one song. It gives everyone chills. But, nobody can sing along in the key she does it in! That’s OK, for a couple songs, maybe special music. Just be careful and try not to do it on every congregational song. Then it gets tough for people to participate. I think we make this mistake occasionally throughout the year, but we tend to do it a lot at Christmas. I see it all the time.
    
Finally, have some fun! What songs do you know for sure are going to move your congregation members? Don’t be afraid of doing the standards and just having fun with them. Congregation members sometimes feel more comfortable participating when they see the leadership team having fun. Set a good example friends.
    
If you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share, please contact me at rmclouth@centralmethodist.edu or (660) 651-9964.