by Matt Conner
Matt Maher’s albums have always felt like gifts for the Church, thematic collections of songs intended for the global congregation of Christ followers to sing in gatherings of all shapes and sizes. After nine full-length albums of worshipful songs, Maher has finally dialed in his talents to release his first holiday-themed album, The Advent of Christmas.
For an artist like Maher, a Christmas album has felt like an obvious move for quite some time. Yet Maher waited until now, when inspired by his own family, to put a project together. As if a 13-song album wasn’t enough, Maher is also releasing a short children’s book of the same name on
“The New Testament is a story. It’s a story of the life of Jesus and the fact that He was God,” says Maher. “So I think when it came time for making a Christmas album that was also infused with some of the thematic elements of Advent, I wondered, for me as a parent, ‘I’m a dad, I’ve got kids. How do I communicate to this to them?’
“Everyone loves story time,” he continues. “We read stories every night before the kids go to bed. Stories become a really powerful way in which we sort of imprint ideas and thoughts and beliefs into the hearts and minds of children. It’s also, in some ways, how things get reinforced in the hearts and minds of ourselves as adults.”
As for the musical side of things, Maher has penned seven new songs and six reimagined Christmas classics. For the newer songs, Maher said the title of the album points to his hopes for the project—that the songs will help listeners prepare for the coming Christ in the midst of holiday saturation.
“On the day after Thanksgiving, the whole world is singing Christmas music,” says Maher. “That’s why I made a record called The Advent of Christmas. I think for a world that is more unaware of the Christian story than ever before, the fact that people want to celebrate a holiday that is completely rooted in celebrating the incarnation. That alone deserves a round of applause.
“I think once Christmas arrives, there’s definitely more of a sense of, ‘Oh we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus! This is great!’ So what I wanted to do was to try to write a couple of songs that maybe helps people in the weeks leading up to Christmas to think more thematically about the ideas of hope, peace, joy, and love.”
Maher says he hopes that the complete package of The Advent of Christmas, story and song, can work together to allow the message and meaning of Advent and Christmas to truly take root—much like the hopes for each of his previous nine albums.
“I just think worship is not an hour of singing songs on Sunday. Worship is a life lived for God. So it becomes like a small way in which kids hear something in a song, and then they read it in the story, and maybe it begins to permeate other areas of their life.”