Night of Worship || guest blog by Chris Smith

This past Friday evening we held a Christmas Night of Worship at Living Word. The theme for this evening was “God With Us” and the reality found in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG). The truth of the incarnation demands a response–songs, poetry, art, and, above all, wonder and worship. While I love gathering with the church family throughout the year for worship nights, there is always something special about the Christmas season and the unique carols and songs that go with it. I love how the Christmas carols are able to stir our hearts (and yes, evoke nostalgia) as they melodically capture profound truths.

God and sinners reconciled. (Joy to the World)

Truly He taught us to love one another. (O Holy Night)

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight. (O Little Town)

With His blood mankind hath bought. (The First Noel)

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail. (I Heard the Bells)

Christmas started with a song—the angels heralding the news of the Messiah’s arrival and the peace that he brings. Singing accompanies celebration. When news is THIS good

—“Heaven is here!”—it calls for melodies that soar and accompaniment that swells. It demands to be sung about and celebrated. It was great to hear a thousand voices lifting up songs of worship and adoration throughout the evening. Halfway through the evening we had a “living room” worship set where the piano and guitar accompanied some of the simple carols that move us at this time of year.

Alongside our musicians and technicians was artist Ashlyn Smith, who joined us and expressed her worship through a live painting that she started and finished during our Night of Worship. Her artwork captured the spirit of the evening and added a beautiful dimension to our worship gathering. Part of the inspiration for her painting came from an original song written by Ryan Lewis called “Heaven is Here.” We released this song this past Friday and you can listen to it on most digital music platforms (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon).

Jesus truly is the Song in our hearts at this time of year, and my prayer is that events like Night of Worship refresh our souls, heighten our awareness of God’s presence, and cause us to wonder anew at the love and work of Jesus in our lives.