“Matt, listen to me. I kick ass at Silent Night”
– 9 yr old pupil.
I grew up on the beautiful wordsmithery of Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin as mediated through the golden voice of Ella Fitzgerald, so this kind of thing was bound to come out at some point. Musically it started as something like a victorian hymn but once I hit on the ascending major scale of the chorus I boarded the jazz train and never looked back. In the verses I’m obviously trying to channel Burt Bacharach.
The initial idea, based round the concept of the chorus having a completely different meaning when set up by verse 2, has been hanging around my notebook forever, but it’s only recently that I had the guts (and ability) to turn it into a song. It’s one of the few songs that I’ve written entirely on the piano.
This worn out year is almost through
A true life Christmas ballad
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he says There’s nothing wrong with syrup… on pancakes. There is a problem with syrup in church. It tastes sweet and it makes people feel happy, but it has no nutritional value. Half an hour after the service is over they’re hungry again. You’ve missed your chance to feed them eternal truth and you can’t get it back. Oh the deceptive allure of syrup. How do you know if you’re getting syrupy? Try asking the following… Is Jesus presented as the glorious Savior or as a cuddly little baby?… Will [the visitor] hear predictable, fluffy, Ford Taurus commercial background music – or will he hear the good news of the Gospel?… Does the song reference there being snow on the ground?… Does it “beat around the ‘gospel bush’”?
[It] masterfully tells the story of salvation in twelve songs. The first five songs deal with themes such as the Passover, Israel’s longing for a King…“Matthew’s Begats” [is] the genealogy of Jesus Christ set to a bluegrass tune. It works. Really. I can’t say enough good things about this album. It’s full of rich, biblical truth, and tells this familiar story in a fresh way. I only have one small quibble with a phrase he uses on the first song, “Gather Round Ye Children”, where he says Jesus “gave up his pride and came here to die like a man”…that phrase could be seen as implying that…Jesus was prideful, and the wording of Jesus coming to “die like a man” might be a bit confusing. All in all, though, a fantastic CD and a good resource for some special songs to sing during Advent. And the rest of the year too.
My friends have a theory that if you tell a kid for 6-8 years that there’s a magical, semi all knowing entity named Santa and then pull the rug on them later, it will be harder for them to believe in God. The idea is that if I can’t trust that what you told me about Santa is true, why should I believe you about God. I think they raise a good point…
It will be easier to focus on the true meaning of Christmas if you go ahead and pop the Santa sleigh into neutral, tie the gas pedal to the steering wheel with a bit of festive ribbon and ghost ride Santa over a cliff. Killing Santa would allow you to focus on Christ’s birth…
My fingers felt a tiny crackle of lightning just typing the sentence, “We can combine Santa and Jesus.” God is a jealous God. If you try to make Santa the fourth member of the trinity, or put a red hat on Jesus, please buy at least 10 copies of the Stuff Christians Like book first, because then at least people will have something funny to read at your funeral…
If you’re in need of more serious council Noel Piper has some wise words on the DG website
And here’s someone who took the ‘Kill Santa’ option too seriously…
Related Posts: 3 Wise Men: #1 Kauflin on killer Church tunes
Bob Kauflin on GOOD congregational christmas songs
On Christmas Day – Matt Osgood
My Soul Magnifies the Lord & Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) Chris Tomlin (both on his new album, Glory in the Highest)
Light of the World – Matt Redman
Comfort Ye – Daniel Renstrom (from his CD On the Incarnation)
At our recent Christmas meeting we sang a beautiful song by Andrew Peterson called Labour Of Love. A few people have asked me about it so I thought I’d post it. It’s performed here by Jill Phillips & her husband Andy Gullahorn.
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