Christmas can definitely be "the most wonderful time of the year."
It's the time of year that we can really focus on and celebrate the birth of our Savior.
There's also the family time, lit up neighborhoods, presents, carols, parties, chocolate covered pretzels and one of my favorites...EGG NOG.
Just like a little too much egg nog can bring some early morning side effects, Christmas can also bring quite the hangover for our churches.
It's almost like we're tempted to quit celebrating Jesus once we get past the birth part, but as we all know, there's a lot more to the story. It's the greatest story ever and we need to remember that it continues with us! That's amazing and humbling.
As a worship leader, I have felt the effects of the Christmas hangover. This is the time that church leaders and worship leaders need to rise up and help people refocus on worshiping God for the next 12 months. By the way...this is an amazing privilege and responsibility.
So to help, here's some worship leading remedies for those in your church that are coming in with the dreaded Christmas hangover:
1. PROVIDE A WAKE-UP CALL - Coffee is a known remedy for hangovers and also a great way to wake up. Sometimes, churches need a wake-up call. I'm a huge believer in the idea of a "call to worship" in our services. If we don't practice this, we're just assuming everyone knows why we're at church. This can take on different forms. Sometimes it's appropriate to greet everyone and chat a little bit. Sometimes it's appropriate to pray or read scripture. Psalm 95:6 says, "Oh come, let us worship and bow down." Sometimes, all you need to do is count off 1, 2, 3, 4 and kick in the first song. No matter what it looks like, our churches need a call to worship, because we need to be reminded of why we're gathering together. After Christmas, your church may need more of a wake-up call to worship. It's an announcement that the holiday season is over, but worship is just getting started. Be prayerful about how you can call your church to worship after the Christmas season.
2. GIVE THEM SOMETHING FAMILIAR - As you're calling your church to come and worship, make sure to give them something they know. Give them something familiar to worship with. It's hard for anyone to sing a song with enthusiasm if they don't know it yet. Familiarity can be a great tool to help you engage with your congregation and lead them past the holiday season and into a new season of worship.
3. BRING SOMETHING NEW - Christmas can be such an amazing time for people, and when it's over it can be sad. The best way to move beyond "what was" is to focus on "what is to come". For our churches, it's a new Sunday, a new season and a New Year. Coming off of Christmas is a great opportunity to bring something "new". I try to teach at least one new song a month for worship and January should be no different. Psalm 96:1 says to "Sing a new song to the Lord!" Come out of the gate of the new year with a new song. I would also advise doing a song that you know your church will catch. There's times throughout the year that I'll have a "swing-and-a-miss" with a new song, but I try to avoid that at the beginning of the year.
4. SHINE BRIGHT - One annoyance to a bad hangover is light, but shining the light of Christ bright to our church can inspire and lead everyone to true peace and praise. Worship is like the chicken pox. It's infectious and it spreads, but it has to start with the leader. When the worship leader is truly worshiping, they are giving everyone a light to draw near to. People can sense a fake, so it's imperative that the leader is genuine in their love of Christ. Psalm 108:1 says, "My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul." Shine bright for your church and make sure it's coming from a heart that is true.
Comment and share some other tried and true remedies.