Choirs Light the Way for Our 2019 Cantata (12/15/19)

Posted by on Jan 8, 2020 in Choirs (Music), EventReport, FEATURED, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Christmas- What’s it all about?  Why do we write cards?  Why do we buy gifts?  Why do we put up a tree?  Christmas celebrates the end of the year.  It’s a time for the whole family to get back together for a few days and to reconnect.  Christmas is celebration.  Christmas is tradition!  Christmas is fun!  But at the core of it, Christmas is about a birth. 

It’s about something new coming into our lives… something new every year.  Our traditional Christmas Cantata reconnected us with that “something new.”  It’s an old story, but it’s something that must be re-read every year.  It’s something that must be re-experienced every day. 

So what’s Christmas about?  It’s about the rebirth of Jesus that can happen in our hearts day in and day out.  Our annual cantata was entitled “His Name is Jesus.” it was a musical, filled with narration, candles, friends and family.  But it was also a reminder. 

What’s this annual cantata event about?  What’s Christmas all about???

 

It’s about the Event…

The annual cantata is regarded as one of the highlights of the Christmas season. It always starts at 4:15 PM on a Sunday afternoon. Why 4:15??? The most likely answer is that it’s the time when late afternoon darkness begins to set in. After the opening announcements, the choir procession with their glowing candles is timed to occur just as the sun is going down. If the cantata started later, it would interfere with Sunday family dinner! The annual cantata is a time to enjoy a decorated room, a large congregation, the warmth of candles, and the festivities of wreaths and trees. It’s tradition. It’s the Christmas spirit.

 

It’s About Individuals…

The cantata is a family event; people have adopted this 4:15 tradition as part of their Christmas experience. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without taking part in this cantata. Some participate in the choirs , or as greeters or ushers, as part of the congregation. It’s a memorable event.

 

It’s about Groups…

One of the most wonderful parts of being in a choir is that your individual voices, efforts, and talents are transformed into something bigger than yourself. So our cantata was led by our adult choir (“Voices in Praise”), Praise Team, “Joy Filled Juniors”, and Alleluia Bells.” Whether you’re ringing a bell, strumming a guitar, or singing your part, you’re using your God given talents to praise Him.  Even if your place in the cantata was in the congregation or in front of a computer watching on live stream, you also became part of something bigger than yourself.

 

 

But Above All, It’s About Jesus!!!

It’s cliche, but you won’t have to drive very long around Pitman before you see a sign saying “Jesus is the Reason for The Season.” Another popular lawn sign says “Keep Christ in Christmas.” Yes, the season and the cantata are focused on Jesus.

And so, the music of the cantata isn’t to draw attention to the performers or to provide entertainment. Its purpose isn’t simply to invoke Christmas memories. The purpose of the music and narrations is to draw attention to Jesus.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

The music for this year’s cantata was from a musical entitled, “His Name is Jesus.” It is a ten number arrangement created by Dennis and Nan Allen. And we customized it a bit; we skipped a couple of songs and added a few more, but the focus of the cantata was as written: Jesus.

During Advent, Pastor Jim preached a sermon series about the Names of Jesus. We saw that He is Immanuel (God with us), Prince of Peace, and the Light of the World. Jesus is so much more than a “great person”; He is God in the flesh. He impacts and empowers our lives in ways that a simple job description or title can’t capture.

The purpose of our cantata was to glorify Jesus by looking at some of the “Names” given to Him in scripture.

The Cantata was filled with traditional and contemporary songs lifting up the Names of our Savior. Here’s the forward to the Cantata book, written by its creators, Dennis and Nan Allen:

His name was Jesus. But what’s in a name? For a Jewish boy in ancient Judea, the name Jesus was common. In Hebrew the name means “God Saves.” But that rather ordinary name was a foreshadowing of who that child would be come to us- our salvation.

Before His birth, prophets had called Him other names, and these described His many attributes: God with us, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Gather, Prince of peace.

This musical explores some for the names of our Lord before His coming and since. It also speaks to the holiness and majesty of His name, for…

God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow- in heaven and on earth and under the earth- and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

(Philippians 2:9-11,CSB)

 

O Come All Ye Faithful…

The afternoon opened with some tones from our bell choir, and then the choirs processed down the center aisle under the glow of candles. We sang an arrangement of Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful. As the choirs filled the loft, the glory and spirit of Jesus filled the room.

How Majestic is Your Name…

We then took a two-song departure from the book by singing “How Majestic is Your Name.” This contemporary song was popularized by Michael W. Smith and Sandi Patty, but it was written slightly earlier- by King David! Its from Psalm 8…

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,the son of man that you care for him? …

O Lord, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!

NIV

Mary Did You Know…

Mary and Joesph had a baby. But did they know who this Baby was? Did they know that this baby would give sight to a blind man? Did they know that He would calm a storm with his hand? Could they have ever imagined that when they kissed their little baby, they’ve kissed the face of God?

Do WE know? Do we know that this baby in a manger is our Creator???

 

And His Name…

We then returned to the cantata book, and the narration introduced the next song:

The baby’s earthly name would be Jesus- not an unusual name for a Hebrew boy. However, the name meant “Savior.” Long before this baby was born, prophets such as Isaiah cited names that would give a taste of who this baby would become…

And His Name will be:
Wonderful…
Counselor…
Prince of Peace…
Mighty God!

 

 

Emmanuel…

The next song picked up on the same prophetic names. The following narration introduced the next song…

“Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. But the prophet did not stop with those names. He predicted the child’s birth, and then added that He would be God Himself in flesh.”

Matthew 1:23 tells us that He would also have the Name, Immanuel (which means “God with Us”)…

Wonderful…
Wonderful… Counselor.
Lord of Life…
Lord of Life… Lord of all!
Emmanuel!!!

 

 

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing…

This traditional carol is soooo familiar. In fact, we recently took an informal poll on our website and this carol was voted as the most popular Christmas carol!

But it begins with the word “Hark!” Listen up. Wake up. Pay attention!!! God sent a sky filled with angels to proclaim this message; it must have been important.

HARK!!!
HARK! Glory to the newborn King.
HARK! Peace on Earth and mercy mild!
HARK! God and sinners reconciled.
HARK! Pleased as man with men to dwell.

The angels called the shepherds- and they call us- to join with them. Join the “triumph of the skies” and proclaim that Christ IS born. Hail the incarnate deity and join with the Lord. Harken to His offer of love and mercy.

 

 

He Knows My Name…

Harken to His offer of love and mercy… All of the Names of Jesus reveal another part of our Creator. The One who counts the stars in the skies knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows our joys, our pains, our shortcomings. Our Creator-God loves us. We strive to know His Name, but He already knows everything about us.

He knows my every thought…
He sees each tear that falls…
He hears me when I cry.
He knows my name!

 

 

Say the Name…

So what is our response? This Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace… This Almighty God who knows our name. Do we know His Name?  Do we live in His Name? Do we glorify, proclaim, and tell others about His Name?

Say the Name…
… the only Name that’s calmed the waves.
Say the Name…
… the only Name that has the power to save.
Say the Name…
… by which the dead are raised.

From worried looks on doctors’ faces, from empty cribs and faith that’s shaken… where do we turn? Jesus- it’s just a name. It’s not even the name he was called when His friends and family spoke with him in Hebrew. Jesus- it’s a Greek transliteration. And yet, even to us, there’s power and awe in that name. It might even be frightening and threatening to say. Jesus. Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor who connects us to our Creator. Jesus, is the power that forgives our sins, that restores broken relationships. Jesus. O come let us adore Him!

 

Silent Night…

The Name of Jesus is to be worshiped, adored, trusted and proclaimed. But after encountering the wonder and power of that Name, we can only fall down in silence. The service ended as it began; with candlelight. As the choir recessed from the loft, we sang “Silent Night, Holy Night”…. sleep in heavenly peace. Rest… Ponder… Treasure these things up in your heart.

The Name of Jesus is a light that is too bright to stare at. We must look down and look within before we can look ahead.

Silent Night, Holy Night. Christ the Savior is born.

 

 

 

 


To learn more about the Cantata, here’s the article that announced it…

Announcement Post

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and thoughts for the coming of the Christ. This isn’t just a historical reminder. And it’s not only from peering towards the end times. No, our preparation is for the here and now. Christmas is a miracle that needs to be received afresh each year.

Last year’s Cantata was entitled “Jesus: No Other Name.” This year, Pastor Jim has picked up on the same theme by preaching a sermon series on “The Names of Jesus.” This year’s Cantata, again looks at Christ by looking at His Names. Who is this Jesus? or Christ? Or Lamb? or Shepherd??? He means so much to us in so many ways. And so it’s good to look at Him by looking at the Names.

 

 

 

2019 Christmas Cantata

Date:    Sunday December 15

Time:  4:15 PM

Title:  “His Name is Jesus”

 

His Name is Jesus!

This year’s Cantata will be filled with traditional and contemporary songs lifting up the Names of our Savior.  Here’s the forward to the Cantata book, written by its creators, Dennis and Nan Allen:

His name was Jesus.  But what’s in a name?  For a Jewish boy in ancient Judea, the name Jesus was common.  In Hebrew the name means “God Saves.”  But that rather ordinary name was a foreshadowing of who that child would be come to us- our salvation.

Before His birth, prophets had called Him other names, and these described His many attributes:  God with us, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Gather, Prince of peace.

This musical explores some for the names of our Lord before His coming and since.   It also speaks to the holiness and majesty of His name, for “God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow- in heaven and on earth and under the earth- and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11,CSB)

 

The “Christmons” on the tree at the front of our Sanctuary remind us of the names of Jesus.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who brings us into a relationship with our holy God.  The Greek letters remind us that the Name of “Christ” or “Jesus” is for people of all languages.  Jesus is the Alpha and Omega…. He was at the beginning and He’ll be with us throughout eternity.

 

 

Music

Music has always been a gift that God has given us so that we can worship Him.  And, it’s always been a key ingredient of our worship at PUMC.   During this special worship service, we’ll participate in familiar carols such as  “Joy to the World” and  “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, and “Silent Night.”  And we’ll  also hear some contemporary songs such as “And His Name (is a strong and mighty tower)”, “Emmanuel”, and “He Knows My Name.”

The Cantata will be led by our “Voices in Praise” adult choir, along with the “Joy Filled Juniors”, Alleluia Bells” and “Praise Team.”   In both music and narration, we’ll worship Jesus- the One who knows Our Name…

 

 

Here’s a look at last year’s Christmas Cantata…

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For more information on our Musical Ministry, click this button: Choirs

 

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