Making carols count

Mark Stone

So if you are anything like me, you're trying to figure out how to do Christmas in a way that reflects your churches heart for worship but also does enough carols so people don't feel short-changed!

Carols often have too many chords for your guitarists to keep up with, and too many words for your singers to remember! So how can we redeem carols this Christmas?

Here's a few things I've done that you might find helpful:

  1. Emphasise the good words - so many carols have random references to historically tenuous things - e.g. Christ being born on Christmas day! / Born on a bleak mid winters night etc. So use your introductions to emphasise the good stuff - e.g. "God and sinners reconciled, O come let us adore him!"
  2. Simplify the chords - It's hard to engage in worship when you are changing chords on every beat! Go through the music and cut out as many transitional chords as you can so that it still works. This will give you some time to engage your heart in worship without your head being full of chords
  3. Find a chorus of a song that fits on the end of a carol, that takes what the carol is saying to a more worshipful place - e.g. the chorus of 'How great is our God or Be high and lifted up' would fit nicely on the end of from 'Angels from the realms of glory'. This kind of thing helps people remember you are worshipping Jesus not just 'doing carols'
  4. Change the key to make it more guitar friendly - Lots of Carols are in F - try dropping it down to E (or capo 1) and bring out some of those nice open chords.
  5. Remember Christmas is about Jesus - Jesus is our saviour, the light of the world, God with us - there are plenty of songs that talk about these things - His incarnation, His Kingship, Him being the Saviour of the world etc. - use all these themes and connect them with Christmas.

Let our king be lifted up!

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