Tony Cummings reports on the Jesus Culture Christmas EP by BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT
Of the hundreds of thousands of worship leaders ministering in churches around the world only a handful have written what must be considered a worship classic - a song that is today sung in churches around the world. This, of course, is what has been achieved by Bryan and Katie Torwalt and there is unlikely to be a Cross Rhythms reader who hasn't heard, and probably worshipped to, their classic "Holy Spirit". Now the husband and wife duo based at Sacramento's renowned Jesus Culture church have surprised their legion of supporters by revisiting their song "Emmanuel (God With Us Forever)" from their 20176 'Champion' album and adding to it two "secular" Christmas ditties "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "The Christmas Song" and two classic carols (sung as a medley) "Hark The herald" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him" and put the whole lot together on the EP 'Christmas'.
The couple spoke about their yuletide project: "We ended up binge listening to Christmas music pretty much the whole month of June this year as we selected what songs to go on the EP. We love Christmas music so much that it was really hard to narrow it down. In the end we went with some classics that make us smile every time we hear them, and we loved getting to sing them. We kept the songs in that classic '50s and '60s sound with lots of strings, choir, upright bass and Christmas bells. We wanted to create Christmas music that we would want to listen to, a sound that reminded us of everything we love about Christmas."
Bryan and Katie are worship leaders and songwriters who have a passion to see lives changed through encounters with the presence of God and believe that even non-Christian songs like "The Christmas Song" and "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" with their emphasis on family and generosity have a message to impart. "The beautiful thing about Christmas time is that everything points to God and his Kingdom. The birth of Jesus is at the centre and it's incredible how our awareness of him increases during the Christmas season, but even the acts of kindness and generosity, or emphasis on family are all in the heart of God. We hope our music brings joy in moments when people need it and that people would become more aware of God, who is relentlessly good in the middle of it all."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.