Christmas Music & Worship. What Story Are You Telling?

Larry Tardy offers advice for those who struggle to sing the great carols while leading people to worship:

I love Christmas, but over the years, as a worship leader, there has always been a struggle to sing the great carols while leading the people to worship.

The tension is this: most Christmas songs talk ABOUT Christmas (tell part of the story of Christmas)…

  • the manger
  • the star
  • the baby
  • the night
  • the wise men
  • the King
  • the shepherds
  • the angels
  • the town

…but as worship leaders, we want to help point worshipers TO God. Many of the songs we lead the other nine months of the year are vertical in nature… prayers to God (songs that tell the story of our need for a savior directed directly to Him).

So, if you desire a stronger worship experience, look for the songs you can use that include include both the story of Christmas and the story of the worshiper.


1) Consider taking the core of a worship song that your congregation knows well and use it a the end of a Christmas song.

2) Try using the refrain of “O Come All Ye Faithful” with other text, such as “We give You all the glory,” “For You alone are worthy.”

3) Find common worship songs that include some of the Christmas story (light, peace, glory) and some of the worshiper’s journey (the need for His light or His peace in their life).

  • “The splendor of a King clothed in majesty” (How Great is Our God / Tomlin)
  • “Beautiful Jesus” (Stanfill)
  • “Glory in the Highest” (Tomlin)
  • “Light of the world” (Here I Am to Worship / Hughes
  • “You are peace, You are Peace (Forever Reign / Hillsong)

It will take time to plan, but will help engage your congregation in worship while celebrating our Lord’s birth.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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