NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Throughout his December concerts, Christian recording artist Chris Tomlin hopes to do more than spread Yuletide cheer. He wants young worshippers to find new meaning in traditional Christmas carols.
“The lyrics of these songs are so beautiful, and the stories behind these songs are so amazing,” Tomlin said. “They are some of the greatest songs ever written.
“I hope it brings people back to the heart of the way these traditional Christmas songs were written. They are songs of worship. … Too many times, we just go through the motions when we sing these songs, because we have been singing them for so many years and take them for granted.”
As a way to encourage worshippers to reflect on the reason for the season, Tomlin released his first Christmas CD, Glory in the Highest. The CD includes familiar classics such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O, Holy Night” and “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” as well as a few new songs. Tomlin also added a refrain to “Joy to the World.”
Recording the CD, Tomlin wanted to capture the atmosphere of a live worship experience. He invited more than 200 people, including worship leaders and radio programmers from across the country, to sing on the project.
“I thought it would be really special to capture people worshipping God with these songs,” he said. “I had never done a recording like that, so I didn’t know how it would work, but it turned out amazing. I love to hear people singing these songs. From the very first note, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is something really different.’ ”
Tomlin hopes congregations can be successful in incorporating traditional Christmas songs—and a few new ones—into worship services.
“This is a time of year when people are attending a worship service for the very first time or maybe they haven’t attended in a long time and decide to return,” he noted.
“There’s something about Christmas songs that opens up people’s hearts and has everybody wanting to sing. Whether it’s at church or carolers on the street, people are eager to sing. This is a wonderful opportunity to take that desire to sing and enter into a time when everyone is singing together and worshipping God.”
“When most people think about the King of Kings coming to this earth, they assume that he would be treated like royalty with a palace and the most skilled attendants,” Tomlin said. “While he deserved all that and so much more, he was born in the most humble of places — a manger.
“The fact that Christ would enter our world in such a strange and humble way, to fulfill a redemptive plan that was set in motion before the beginning of time really blows my mind. Fully God and fully man is hard to comprehend but beautiful in knowing that he not only created us, but has felt, sensed, touched, heard and seen just like we have in human form.
“With these songs, we’re proclaiming that Christ has come, entered this world and made a way for us. That is our reason for singing these songs and giving glory to God in the highest.”