Five Songs For Families Who Need to Rejoice
There are moments in life that are sheer bliss. Watching the sunset with a loved one, seeing a child take their first steps, receiving an award for a job well done, and even the warmth of the sun on a cool crisp morning are all proof of God’s wondrous, common grace shown to the world. While I should turn my attention to Jesus in every circumstance, I am more apt to lift my hands to Him when I’m in need and not when I’m happy. But the reasons for our joy and delight come solely from the Lord! These moments, these seasons, are gifts from our Savior.
When I was in fifth grade, I made up a dance routine to Amy Grant’s, “Sing Your Praise to the Lord.” Those late 80’s dances to Amy Grant music were epic. At least, that’s how I remember them. When I see pictures from this era, I’m simultaneously impressed by the height of my bangs while also a bit mortified that I performed this particular dance at my school’s talent show. I don’t remember much about the people watching or the outcome of the contest, but I do remember feeling exhilarated as I fearlessly danced across the stage (wearing, of course, my hot pink unit belt and pink jelly shoes).
When I think of cheerful praise, I picture this scene from my childhood, dancing carefree to worship-filled music. Our happiness should first and foremost inspire praise to the Lord, and often our praise causes us to respond physically. I’m not necessarily advocating that we all stop and dance (though everyone should try this at least once in their lives), but I am suggesting that praise-filled music evokes in us both an emotional and physical response. CS Lewis once said, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” As parents, it’s important that we’re playing music that pushes us toward joyful praise; music that might even cause us to move a little across the kitchen floor.
There are so many reasons to give thanks to the Lord, even in the midst of weighty times. Name these reasons as a family, and then play some of these Christ-centered songs that foster worship when we need to rejoice.
“You Are My Joy,” Will Reagan – I don’t use an abundance of repetition in songs for corporate worship, but I could listen to the repeated lines of this song over and over. The lyrics are simple, but the truths they express are profound. This is the story of the gospel: simple but profound. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, He is and always will be the source of our joy, and you can feel that truth expressed in the melody. The way my father talked about the gospel was incredibly impactful to me as a teenager. The explanation of who Jesus is and the work that He does rolled off His lips like a joy-filled song. He’d conclude saying things like, “Isn’t this incredible?” I’m sure I rolled my eyes a few times, but his wonder at the gospel affected me. Read Romans 6:5-11 and talk with your kids about the reasons we have joy in Christ, and then let the praise exuded in this song fill your soul with thanksgiving.
“Rescuer,” Rend Collective – The video on YouTube is as much fun as the melody. A recorded voice breaks the silence with: “There is so much bad news in the world right now, but no matter what, we have good news. And that good news has a name, and that name is Jesus Christ.” Jesus rescued us from our sin, reconciling us to Himself. Ask your kids why this is good news and talk about the implications of this in their daily lives. For some, the Scriptural truths we learn can become rote, so it’s good to stop and ask why these certainties are so important. The joyful lyrics and bursts of musical energy in this song help us to remember the reasons the Good News is so important. The second verse is my favorite: “There is good news for the captive; Good news for the shamed; There is good news for the doubter…for the good Lord has come to seek and save.” Child of God, Jesus rescued you because He loves you. This is a reason to dance and sing!
“But for You Who Fear My Name,” Welcome Wagon – This song, based on Malachi 4:2, is exuberant! The banjo is a joyful instrument, and it’s used beautifully in this melody that compares the enthusiastic joy of a believer to a baby animal who is released to play in a pasture. For those who deny Christ, there is no eternal hope, but for the righteous, the Son of God has brought healing, freedom, and salvation. This song expresses a unique delight in what is to come for the believer in Christ. As a family, discuss what the Bible tells us about the new heavens and new earth, and it’s OK to use your imagination and reflect on what it might be like! What we know for sure is that when we’re joined to our Savior, there will be no more pain, no more hurt, and no more sin. And I’m pretty sure there may even be a little dancing.
“Father Let your Kingdom Come,” Urban Doxology – Continuing in the theme of what is to come, this song helps us reflect on the “now, but not yet.” My friends, you can’t stand still when this song is playing. The gospel melody inspires thanks and praise, and the musician’s happiness is contagious. One of the reasons we have to rejoice as a believer is because the kingdom of God is now in that we experience His goodness, peace, and love even in “places we don’t choose.” But God is redeeming His creation, and one day all things will be made new; nothing will be broken, and all will be made perfect again. Because of this hope we have in Christ, discuss how can our hands and words might bring Jesusjoy in the here and now. Listen and be blessed.
“I Will Sing,” Sandra McCracken – Even with the jazzy, “chill” feel, this song conjures up overflowing joy. Based on Psalm 89, the theologically rich words remind us that we can (and should!) give thanks in any and all circumstances. Commenting on the single, McCracken writes this beautiful reflection: “Right now, we’re all living in a time where we’ve had to slow down our plans and agenda, adjust them, or completely change them because they’ve been obliterated. With all that comes patience. It’s easier said than done, but whether it’s pandemic sickness, death, job loss, financial struggle, or other hard and paining life moments…God is still GOOD! And I want to sing his praise forever.” * When you need to rejoice, sing of the Lord’s great love, listen to music that reminds you of His goodness, and maybe even dance because of the joy we have in Christ.
For more in our series about songs to share with your family, please see Katie Polski’s Psalms to Sing With Families; Old Texts with New life- Five Hymns for Parents to Play for Their Teens; and Five Worship Songs for Families in Uncertain Times.