Merry Christmas, Refuge Church! It is a joy to celebrate with you the birth of Jesus, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). This is also a traditional season many in the church keep called Advent: a time of remembrance and expectation that Jesus who came to earth long ago will come again as he promised.

One of the desires the elders have (and we believe many of you have as well) is to recommend resources for you that can better equip you and build you up as followers of Jesus. There’s no shortage of books, music, podcasts, and more that beg for your attention, and there are many questions you may have in following Jesus and how that plays out in our world and culture. Aside from being discerning on what resources to engage, there are many great resources that you may not know exist. For all those reasons, we think our blog is a great tool to recommend resources periodically in a variety of different subjects and topics.

My recommendation for the church this month is the music of Texas singer-songwriter Caroline Cobb and specifically her Advent-to-Christmas album A Seed, A Sunrise. I recently had the joy of hosting Caroline in concert at New Life Camp and can’t begin to describe how refreshing she is as a sister in Christ. She is warm, gracious, good-humored, engaging, genuinely interested in the stories of others, and longing for her music to be a tool of discipleship in the church. To that end, her music flows out from the Scripture. Just after her twenty-ninth birthday, she set a crazy goal: to write a song for every book of the Bible in a year. But what began as a crazy goal set in motion a calling to tell the stories of scripture through music, to help God’s people rehearse and remember.

“Like any good story, the Bible demands to be read and retold again and again,” Caroline says. “It’s a deep well that beckons us to come further up and further in. So, I keep writing from scripture, looking at this same Story from new angles, just as you’d turn a diamond to let each slant and gradient shine some new light.”

Caroline’s passion for the story of the Bible makes A Seed, A Sunrise a beautiful treasure of music. This isn’t a traditional Christmas album. She dives into the writings of Isaiah in songs like “We Wait for You”, “Oh Comfort”, and “Oh Righteous Branch”. The Advent season draws out the sense of waiting, longing, and looking forward to the coming Messiah. These songs engage that longing and enhance it. That longing is answered in songs like “Hallelujah, Christ Is Born” and “Joy (As Far as the Curse Is Found)” when Jesus comes to dwell with us. “Joy” is my favorite song on the album. Caroline borrows lyrics from “Joy to the World” and gives them new life. The song moves me to tears as I think about the joy of Jesus and all his blessings flowing “as far as the curse is found.” The album finally points us to the future hope of Jesus’ kingdom in “Be on the Lookout” from Matthew 25 and “There Will Be a Day,” which puts Isaiah 2 to song.

Ultimately, I don’t feel this album is a Christmas album in the sense that you would only listen to it at Christmas time. This is a meditation on the story and poetry of Scripture leading us to Jesus, and that makes it a gift to listen to all throughout the year, particularly when we encounter the brokenness of our sin, hardship and pain, and darkness around us.

“Although we recorded this album just before the upheaval of 2020 began, these songs of longing and finding hope in Jesus alone seem all the more relevant now in the midst of racial injustice, political division, fires, hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Caroline. “My prayer is that these songs will be a needed balm for us, giving voice to both the desperate cry ‘how long, O Lord?’ and to the unwavering hope we have in Jesus. Longing and hope are not mutually exclusive. We need both right now.”

Caroline’s music is such a high recommendation from me that we will have copies of A Seed, A Sunriseavailable for free this Sunday, December 5th to pick up at the Welcome Center (limit of one copy per family). You can also listen to this album on Apple Music or Spotify at the links below. Please check out her other Scripture albums such as The Blood and the Breath, A Home and a Hunger, and her most recent album released in October called A King and His Kindness. I hope, like me, you will find Caroline’s music stirring your hearts in the word of God and our hope in Jesus as we both celebrate his arrival and look forward to his return.

 

A Seed, A Sunrise on Apple Music

A Seed, A Sunrise on Spotify

Find out more about Caroline Cobb and her music at www.carolinecobb.com.