Christmas at Sojourn has always been a unique thing. From the first year in the life of the church, we’ve been fascinated by the more gritty side of the Christmas story. The church fathers chose the darkest time of the year to celebrate the dawning of the Light of Lights in the birth of Christ, the entrance of hope into darkness.
The Christmas story itself is one of contrasts – God as a baby. A king in a manger. His birth was welcomed not by crowds and royalty, but by outcasts and foreigners. Because the Christmas story is ultimately a story of hope for the hopeless, healing for the broken, and light in the darkness.
We’ve sought for many years to capture that emotion in our Christmas music. There’s a place for joy, a necessary and central place for celebration, but that joy and celebration has it’s most weight when seen in the context of the suffering and longing from which it emerges. So Christmas music at Sojourn has always had a dark edge, a sense of tension and angst, which points us to the darkness of our own hearts that longs for the light of Christ.
This new record is birthed almost directly out of our Christmas worship services. We recorded this one at home, so to speak, at the 930 Arts Center (our Midtown campus) and at Eddy Morris’s, our Production Director, studio (Ear Candy studios, where we also recorded Before the Throne and These Things I Remember). It’s an indie rock record, recorded the indie rock way, piecing together what we could to give you this homemade gift. It’s not perfect, but most home-made things aren’t.
We’ve also reached out to some friends and borrowed their songs. We’re happy to have Bifrost Arts’ “Joy Joy” on this album, a song based on a very old melody that perfectly captures that tense, advent joy. We’ve also recorded Bill Mallonee’s “Knocking at Your Door”, a song we sing every Advent season whose gritty and earthy words bring the season home. Sandra McCracken’s “This is the Christ” is a text she reworked from Martin Luther, and it was an instant favorite for us last year.
In addition, we have a number of originals and traditionals, including a punk-rock inspired “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, the grittiest version of “Go Tell it On the Mountain” you’ll ever hear, ambient pop versions of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night”, a John Newton text reworked by Brooks Ritter (“Oh Glorious Hour”) and an ancient anonymous text reworked by Jamie Barnes (“A Voice is Sounding”).
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- O Glorious Hour
- A Voice Is Sounding
- Go Tell It On The Mountain
- Joy Joy
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
- Knocking At Your Door
- This Is The Christ
- Silent Night