Reviewed by Jennifer Bogart
Worship and Adore by various
"The majority of the music has been newly written this year, helping Worship and Adore delve into fresh new territory while avoiding any appearance of being derivative, or merely repackaged."
It’s that time of year again; radio stations and shopping centers are broadcasting inane, nonsensical, and at times down-right deceptive tunes as hymns of praise to the holiday season. As a Christian family who dearly loves Jesus and believes in his birth as a baby to a virgin in Bethlehem, this is an awkward time of year for us as believers who don’t celebrate Christmas. I won’t be going into that here – it’s a long convoluted story that’s outside the scope of this review, but keep that fact in mind as you read on.
When Worship and Adore: A Christmas Offering arrived in the mail, I groaned internally. Sadly many Christian compilations of holiday music are little better than secular paeans to the god of consumerism, and I was afraid to see what I might find included in this collection. After scanning down the list of tracks I noted straight-away that this collection of eleven offerings of praise are free of Santa songs, free of Christmas trees, and free of – well, everything except worshiping the Son of God. Being so far reassured, I dug in.
Unlike most holiday-focused albums, Worship and Adore represents not the work of a single artist or group, but is a collaborative effort from the praise and worship musicians represented by Integrity Music. The opening track “Offering (Christmas Version)” pulls together the entire ensemble in a Christmas version of Paul baloche’s well-known “Offering”. Kari Jobe, Glenn Packiam, Christy Johnson, Lincoln Brewseter, Kathryn Scott, Vicky Beeching, Joel Auge, Don Poythress, Paul Baloche, and Jared Anderson combine their talents on the first track, before they each contribute a track where they are prominently featured.
Offering up a collection that mixes reworked traditional songs with fresh, new reflections upon the incarnation, the feel of the album is heavily weighted towards introspective, thoughtful songs of worship. Lincoln Brewster’s “Glory to God” is one of the few exceptions, an upbeat number that captures the exultation of the heavenly host upon Jesus’ birth.
Kari Jobe sings “Adore Him” a re-working of the traditional “Come Let Us Adore Him” that is a subdued, bittersweet, and haunting song that will go with you throughout the day. Glen Packiam’s performance of “The Beautiful Body and Blood” which looks forward from Jesus as a baby to the fulfillment of His purpose on earth made me sit up and take interest. Though I’ve heard Packiam’s work on Counting on God with Ross Parsley and the Desperation Band, this solo offering with its laid-back musical accompaniment really highlight the quality of his voice.
Likewise, Jared Anderson can count me as a new fan of his solo work after being captivated by his “Messiah’s Song” featuring subtle, rich harmonies, and a tender, understated melody that somehow kindles an intense desire for the Savior; this is easily my favorite track on the disc.
The delight of this compilation is the opportunity to discover previously unknown artists. Paul Baloche – though well-known – is a new voice for me. His heart-felt and authentic expressions of praise in the closing “We Adore You” is so warm and straight-forward that it’s impossible not to be moved.
While many Christmas albums are rather shoddy efforts that are quickly tossed together, a great deal of care shines through on this disc. The majority of the music has been newly written this year, helping Worship and Adore delve into fresh new territory while avoiding any appearance of being derivative, or merely repackaged.
It would truly be a shame if Worship and Adore is shelved after the holiday season due to the word ‘Christmas’ in its title and liner art consistently associated with the month of December. Songs that encourage believers to reflect upon Jesus’ birth, to worship Him, to adore Him, are appropriate all year round. It’s into this precious place of thoughtful worship that Integrity’s artists lead us into – one that I hope to revisit frequently.
An accompanying digital songbook on CD is also available for purchase separately from Integrity Music.
1. Offering (Christmas Version)
2. Adore Him
3. Glory To God
4. He Is Wonderful
5. The Beautiful Body And Blood
6. He Made A Way In A Manger
8. Messiah’s Song
9. Gloria (Mary’s Song)
10. Holy Is The Child
11. We Adore You
Jennifer Bogart is a child of God, wife and homeschooling mother of three young children (so far). She writes homeschooling resources with her husband at Bogart Family Resources, and reviews as a creative outlet. Passionately dedicated to promoting the work of Christian authors and artists, her blog Quiverfull Family features reviews, contests, family updates, homeschooling tidbits and well - a bit of everything.