Posts Tagged Christmas Music
Now that we’re on the other side of “Black Friday”, we will be overexposed to enough Christmas music to choke a reindeer. After a trip to the mall yesterday, I’ve heard enough renditions of “Sleigh ride” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by auto-tuned pop tarts to make me lose my appetite for egg nog. Much like egg nog, Christmas can be tasty at first, and then if you over-indulge, it can make you a little nauseous. How does one retain one’s sanity whilst being subjected to this Kubrickian regiment of marketing yule? Here’s a few pointers that might help you stomach the next 27 days.
You might have to listen to Brittney Spears sing “Santa Baby” when you are out, but you don’t have to subject yourself to that kind of experience at home. Give yourself the gift of good music that retains a semblance of the sacred. A few years ago, a friend gave us tickets to see Handel’s “Messiah” and it was a wonderfully refreshing evening of worship. I give my wife a new Christmas recording every year for her birthday at the end of November so that we will be able to control at least some of the music that we have to listen to. I like to give our collection a wide variety of styles and moods. But what if you are feeling ready to get a little risky?
One way to beat the holiday blues is to do what comes naturally to folks from my generation: fight kitsch-fire with kitsch-fire. I like to get out the super sappy music and give myself a good dosing somewhere at the beginning of the season. Some folks will have the “Christmas Sweater” parties or something like that to play up the absurdity of Xmas. These ventures into PoMo can sometimes become overly cynical and self-destructive so after you let your inner hipster out for a few days, it’s best to bring it back to the gospels.
Go to the cross
Of course this is “the true meaning of Christmas”, right? A divine act of intervention on our behalf in order to redeem the lost. Advent is the thrill of hope in a weary world. Advent is all creation bursting into a glorious song for the triumphant Redeemer entering into the darkness. The manger is not sentimental kitsch. It is the first place of suffering and sacrifice that Jesus experience which placed him on a trajectory toward the cross of Calvary. Take time to listen to the hymns, listen to spirituals, even listen in the malls as the saccharine sentimental music is unintentionally prophesying that the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
The fall season for many of us becomes more and more like a flume ride. We spend September and October in a slow ascent with a feeling that’s somewhere between excitement and dread as we anticipate the events on the horizon. Soon, we come over the crest and find our lives becoming a crazy blur of screaming joy and nausea. Next thing we know, it’s January and we’re left feeling a little cold and wet with the entire holiday season nothing more than a SD card full of crowded and poorly lit jpegs. Personally, I’m about the round the crest this weekend, so I’m not having fun yet. However, despite my melancholic remarks, here’s some stuff that I’m genuinely looking forward to:
Thanksgiving in Tennessee
We’re doing “Turkey Day” in the land of the Moonpie this year. I’m looking forward to talking shop with my dad, having a snackdown with my sister and kin, and getting together with old friends in order to have interactions that are more meaningful then liking their status. Maybe I’ll take my kids to the new Muppets flick.
Youth Sunday – November 27
The New City Fellowship youth band is going to take the role of worship music leadership for weekend. I love youth Sunday for the way it brings a sense of worship being the shared experience of an individual expression. In other words, people give the youth a lot of room to express their faith in worship without the usual constraints. It’s an experiment in cross-cultural ministry as we allow the young and powerless to lead those of us who usually hold the reigns in the church. (November 27 is also my wife’s birthday!)
The First Ever NCF Christmas Concert! – December 10
The NCF Choir will get to make a little more joyful noise this Advent with this new Saturday night event. We will share some familiar classics as well as some new classics. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate together the wonderful expressions of music that have become such a meaningful part of Advent for the church. The NCF Choir continues to come into it’s own as a ministry that both nourishes the participants and the church on an almost weekly basis.
Reconciliation and Justice Conference 2012 – January 24-25
We will be once again hosting this special meeting of pastors and ministry leaders from around the US to have a dialogue about the issues of reconciliation and justice within our denomination. I’m going to be there leading some of the worship. You can register here.
7th annual NCF Black History Celebration – February 25
This had been the highlight of the year for our music ministry for a long time, but now, it’s only been diminished by the abundance of exciting things happening all year long for us. We expect this year’s BHC to continue the tradition of celebrating the gospel of Jesus Christ through the unique expressions of Black Culture.
Food For The Hungry – March 15-18
I’ll be in Phoenix in March 2012 leading worship at a special fundraiser weekend for the ministry Food For The Hungry. This is an exciting opportunity to participate in a ministry that I can <pun> really sink my teeth into</pun>.
New City Music 2012 Conference
I just published this post and then realized that I failed to say anything about the 2012 NCMC! This summer’s music conference will be hosted by my church again. With the search on for a new senior pastor, the folks in Chattanooga decided to take another year off. The dates will be August 1-3. I don’t really have much more to say about it than that. I’m currently looking for ideas for speakers, musicians, and clinics to feature, so give me any you have that come to mind.