- December 21, 2016
- By Leann Callaway / Special to the Baptist Standard
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Singer-songwriter Matt Redman hopes his debut Christmas album draws people into the mystery of the incarnation.
As the writer of praise songs such as “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” “Better is One Day,” “Blessed Be Your Name,” “The Heart of Worship” and “You Never Let Go,” Redman’s music is a staple of contemporary worship around the globe.
With the release of These Christmas Lights, the two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist remains focused on reflecting the gospel message and calling audiences to respond to God with adoration.
“I’ve been writing songs for a couple of decades, and I love writing worship songs that will hopefully enhance people’s faith and help them talk to God through music,” Redman said.
“When the idea for a Christmas album came up, I thought creatively I would love the chance to get my teeth into that theme in a deep way and really dive into the mystery of the Christmas story, the incarnation of Christ and find some fresh songs that might draw people into that mystery.”
Journey from re-enactment to realization
Redman found inspiration for the songs from Scripture, as well as from his recent trip to Israel.
“I absolutely loved the adventure of writing this record,” he said. “I traveled to Israel for a week of songwriting, and I loved the process of putting together this record.
“My thought when I was writing these songs was that I didn’t just want to tell the story. I wanted to take people from re-enactment to realization. I wanted people to realize the significance of what this story from 2,000 years ago means for us today. In a sense, we’re placing ourselves in the story. I hope that what this record could do is to take this old theme and story and make it very real in someone’s heart today.”
Inject hope into hearts
Through his music and message, Redman hopes to connect people to the unshakable truth of the gospel while offering hope and healing to those in need.
“In this world, we see so many broken promises, but God never breaks his promises. He never turns or changes, never breaks the faith … yesterday, today, forever the same. Everything else in this world changes, but God stays the same. Therefore, his word and kingdom endure. My prayer is that these songs inject hope into people’s lives and hearts, and that they are connected to the gospel truths.”
With the goal of connecting audiences to this powerful and poignant message, Redman collaborated on the song “Help from Heaven” with secular recording artist and family friend Natasha Bedingfield. Adding to the appeal and exposure for this song, the music video premiered exclusively on Billboard.com, which presented increased opportunities to connect people with the message behind the music.
“This song was written to convey a message about the heart of God over people’s lives,” Redman said. “Most people think of Christmas being a happy, joyful and celebratory time, but it’s also a time that can intensify people’s struggles and pain and can magnify any kind of tension they are walking through in life. I wanted to include this song on the album because it’s a song of hope to sing over people’s lives and allowing people to connect with the heartbeat of God for them that is filled with love, grace, kindness and compassion.”
Based in Scripture
Realizing the huge responsibility of crafting theologically sound worship songs, Redman spends a great deal of time reading the Bible and consulting with pastors about songwriting material. In addition to writing songs and leading worship at events, he has written several books that offer advice for worship leaders and praise teams.
“When I sit down to write songs, I think about the congregations singing the songs and try to help people voice their praise, prayer and adoration to God,” Redman said. “I try to find a universal truth and then think of a unique way to present it to congregations. Often, the process starts with a phrase, word or Scripture that is a springboard to a new idea.
“In songwriting, I feel like the lyric is definitely the most important thing. If the lyric is based on the word of God, it can be enduring and can speak truth into people’s lives, hearts and minds.”
With modern-day carols inspired by ancient Scriptures on his first Christmas album, Redman hopes to relate a timeless message with audiences through these contemporary worship songs.
“Whether I’m leading worship or gathering with friends and family, I really want it to be a time of entering into the mystery of Christmas,” Redman said. “You often hear people talk about the magic of Christmas, but I want us to go further and explore the mystery of Christmas—that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
“There’s a lyric in one of the songs that refers to the incarnation of Christ as a mystery that God would come down and immerse himself in our world and become one of us.
“These songs are all designed to reflect a relevant message based on the central theme that just as God touched down in those places more than 2,000 years ago, God is still alive, active and able to touch down in our own situations today.”