The Power of Song
Spotify (the world’s most used music application) has 286 million active monthly users.
44% of those users listen to music on Spotify every day.
On average, a user will listen to content on Spotify for 25 hours per month.
Sovereign Grace music has 537,225 monthly listeners.
One version of Christ Our Hope In Life and Death (the anthem of Enfield’s recent series on Heaven) has been listened to 1,448,542 times (as of writing).
People love music. Neuroscientists have found that listening to music you enjoy results in an increase in dopamine levels in your brain (the chemical that makes us happy).
We also attach memories to music. Listening to a particular song can transport me right back to a specific moment in my life and even to a specific feeling. There are songs that still make me happy today because I tie them to a Christmas dance I went to in sixth form. There’s a line in Isaac Watts’ song When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’
that makes me really emotional because of a talk I heard at a conference four years ago. Hearing that one line reminds me of the whole talk every time I hear it.
Music is really powerful and not being able to sing at church (or even be at church during the most locked down parts of lock down) has been really difficult for me, and I know I’m not alone in that.
Through lockdown, I’ve increasingly been drawn to Christian music and at a time when life is particularly difficult, I’ve found it really helpful for my faith for two main reasons:
While we’re unable to meet together and sing together, there’s something really powerful about hearing a group of people worshipping God together. I’ve found it really difficult to distinguish physical isolation from spiritual isolation. But listening to (and watching videos of) congregations praising God together has served as a great reminder that although we’re not physically gathered together, we remain united – one body in Christ.
What I listen to is what I think about. My head is filled with useless song lyrics (if you say something that vaguely resembles a song lyric, that song will be buzzing around in my head for the rest of the day). When I spend my commute listening to songs which point me to Jesus, those are the lyrics that buzz around in my head. I’ve found work particularly difficult over the past few months and so often when I’ve felt at breaking point, God has reminded me of specific lyric from a specific song at just the right moment (it doesn’t always stop the break down, but it helps me to refocus and look to Him).
As Christmas approaches the chaos of COVID seems to be even more chaotic and lots of new challenges are surfacing. But at the same time, so are lots of new Christmas songs to remind us that our great God remains great.
Here are three of my current favourites:
There are lots of good songs on this album (Heaven Has Come)
Probably not strictly a Christmas song, but it’s great anyway
A classic Christmas song, but I find this version beautiful! Also – not a Christmas song but I love this song at the moment:
And this playlist on Spotify has loads of really great songs:
By Debbie Adamson, Church Member