New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Why This Jubilee?

Advent Reflections on Songs of the Season

James C. Howell • July 2015

BUY Print $12.99

BUY eBook (Available in ePub or Kindle) $9.99

Music is such an important part of Advent and Christmas. Can you imagine Advent without "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"? How about Christmas without carols like "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Silent Night," and "Joy to the World"?

It pleases the Lord Jesus when we sing of his coming with carols we know by heart. It pleases him even more when we think about the words we are singing.

In 24 reflections on well-known carols and Christmas songs, James Howell explores the birth of Jesus. He ponders the meaning of certain phrases from these songs and relates them to our daily lives.

The four weeks of devotions are arranged by topic:

  • The Place
  • The Men (Joseph, shepherds, magi)
  • The Mother
  • The Child

A guide for weekly discussion is included.

Join Howell in this rich remembrance for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Categories: Advent, Clergy & Laity
James C. Howell is senior pastor, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, NC. A native of Columbia, SC, he studied chemistry and physics at the University of South Carolina. He holds a PhD and MDiv from Duke University. Howell has published 20 books, including Why This Jubilee?, Yours Are the Hands of Christ, and Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs. Biking, hiking, and reading fill his spare time. He and his wife, Lisa, a photographer and community activist, have three grown children.

ISBN: 978-0-8358-1495-9

Kindle ISBN: 978-0-8358-1527-7

EPub ISBN: 978-0-8358-1496-6

Imprint: Upper Room

Pub Date: July 2015

Trim Size: 5 in (w) x 7 in (h) x 0.291 in (d)

Page Count: 136

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Holidays / Christmas & Advent

BISAC1: REL034020



Music has the power to immediately evoke a time, a place, and a memory even beyond the text's meaning. Certainly this is true of Christmas carols. Howell takes us on a delightful journey into the heart, history, and meaning of these songs in a way that deepens our experience of them in unexpected and unforgettable ways. We fall in love with them, and with the mystery of this season, all over again.
—Dr. Marcia McFee Creator and Visionary, Worship Design Studio James Howell took me to the most familiar Advent/Christmas hymns and songs— ones I have sung for years—and made me pay attention in a whole new way. "The cattle are lowing" is a new image in my mind after reading how St. Francis created the first manger scene. I want to sing with the angels, worship with the shepherds, bow before my Lord Jesus, and follow him this Advent in a deeper way. Read this book. Your imagination will be stirred, your heart moved, your feet led in new ways!
—Leighton Ford Presbyterian minister, author, mentor, and president, Leighton Ford Ministries There is something alluring, even magical, when through music "God imparts to human hearts" the joy of Christmas, of Christ. James Howell is a wonderfully gifted writer and a talented musician as well. I can think of no one better to write a book like this for us all to help us ponder more "the hopes and fears of all the years." Highly recommended.
—Dr. Ben Witherington III Amos Professor of NT for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary