Christmas at Sojourn has always been a unique thing. From the first year in the life of the church, Sojourn have 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.
Sojourn Church has sought for many years to capture that emotion in their Christmas music. There’s a place for joy, a necessary and central place for celebration, but that joy and celebration has its 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 CD recording, titled “A Child Is Born,” is birthed almost directly out of Sojourn Church’s Christmas worship services. The members of Sojourn recorded this new list of tracks at home, so to speak, at the 930 Arts Center (our Midtown campus) and at Eddy Morris’s, Sojourn’s Production Director and at Ear Candy studios, where Sojourn also recorded the albums, “Before the Throne” and “These Things I Remember.” Sojourn’s own pastor, Mike Cosper, states, “It’s an indie rock record, recorded the indie rock way, piecing together what we could to give fans and music lovers this homemade gift. It’s not perfect, but most home-made things aren’t.”
Sojourn Church also reached out to some friends and borrowed their songs for the making of “A Child Is Born,” including Bifrost Arts’ “Joy Joy,” a song based on a very old melody that perfectly captures that tense, advent joy. They 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. In addition is Sandra McCracken’s “This is the Christ” a text McCracken reworked from Martin Luther, and was an instant favorite for Sojourn during last year’s holiday sermons.
In addition, Sojourn Church has a number of originals and traditional songs, including a punk-rock inspired “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” the grittiest version of “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” anyone will ever hear and 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”).