Modern worship songs, holiday carols, and original compositions make
up John Tesh's Christmas Worship, a follow-up to his hugely
popular A Deeper Faith release. Like that project, this one
is a blend of instrumental and vocal pieces, with Tesh taking the
lead on several, including the opening track, "This Is Your Gift." While
Tesh the composer/arranger/musician is able to create moody,
evocative compositions, vocals often seem beside the point. Thus the gentle strings on "Silent Night" and intricate piano
work on "Joy to the World" create a worshipful holiday mood in a way
that tracks like the overwrought "Hungry" do not. Tesh strikes a serious
note throughout this release, which is capped by "God in the
Stairwell," a spoken-word piece recounting the events of September 11th.
Perhaps it was intended to be a joyful picture of God's presence at
the victims' hour of need, but it's nonetheless a somber reminder of a
terrible national tragedy, and not exactly standard holiday fare. Those seeking a little more warmth might
prefer Tesh's 1995 A Romantic Christmas to the thought-provoking "worship experience" he provides for this hallowed season.