Southern Cross DECEMBER 2021

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Quiz Worx’s new album makes a very joyful noise unto the Lord.

A new way to rock around the Christmas tree Tara Sing A (Not So) Silent Night Quiz Worx As a lover of all things Christmas, I’m precious about my traditions and want to safeguard the things I know and hold dear. I approach new Christmas songs and versions of classic carols with trepidation. Will classics be ruined? Are the new songs cheesy – or worse, just trying too hard? The new Quiz Worx album had a lot to prove if it was going to make it onto any of our family Christmas playlists. Would their latest offering of kids’ music have songs that I could listen to twice? What about twice a day, for the whole of December? Would the lyrics be easy to remember? Would they be catchy? Most importantly, would they help our family to fix our eyes on Jesus in a season so crowded with consumerism? Thankfully track one (“A Very Real Christmas”) wasn’t shy about pointing me straight to Jesus, and the rest of the album continued to do so as well. It’s very obvious to anyone listening to these songs that Christmas is all about Jesus! “Christmas Is Bigger” reminds us that there’s more to Christmas than the tables buckling under the weight of feasts, piles of boxes wrapped under the tree or the hordes of distant relatives knocking at your door. Christmas is bigger than all of these things because of a baby “born to bring the world great joy / But that’s not where it ends / The Bible says people can be God’s friends”. While theologically the album is better suited to primary school children, my two-year-old daughter got very excited every time angels, shepherds and Christmas were mentioned. We’ve been reading the nativity story in her children’s Bible, so I appreciated how easy it was to make links from the songs we were listening to back to the stories about Jesus’ birth that she is beginning to understand. I thought “Mary Had A Little Boy” (a Christmassy twist on “Mary Had A Little Lamb”) was catchy and would be great to

retelling is a soft entry into facing these concepts without scaring young ones. For example, the retelling of “Jerusalem Burns” (2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 37-39) doesn’t shy away from describing what happened to King Zedekiah when he was caught by the Babylonian army – blinding him and jailing him until death. Instead, it helpfully focuses on the root of the problem, which was the king’s disobedience to God. There’s always been discussion about the place of children’s books like these, with some families arguing that our time is better spent jumping straight into Scripture and skipping books that offer Bible retellings rather than considered translations of the original text. There’s a push from some Christians to reach for a SouthernCross

December 2021

teach to the crèche-aged kids at our church. The one possibly contentious song is “Jesus vs Santa”. Christians come to all sorts of conclusions about what to do with Mr Claus – some families choose to reject him altogether, while others embrace all there is to embrace about the Santa story. Although this song aims to lightheartedly demonstrate how Santa is good but Jesus is best, for families who are fond of Santa it has the potential to sit uncomfortably. With the difficulties facing families around the world over the past few years, pandemics separating people and affecting every event in our lives, I’m thankful that Quiz Worx takes the time to help children process some of the big feelings they might have. Explaining to kids that Christmas is God’s way of showing the world he sees our pain and is doing something about it helps us go deeper than the twinkle of lights and fun of party poppers. It reminds us that “God hears, God speaks, God acts in Jesus”. The album is also interspersed with skits featuring popular Quiz Worx puppets, which will be a delight for long-term fans familiar with these characters. As someone not so familiar with the antics of Scruff and his team, I skipped over those tracks. For children who do have that link, the tracks provide helpful points of re-engagement. Finishing on a bang, Quiz Worx ends the album just as it started – by reminding us that Christmas is all about the son of God. “Christmas is Merry (Because of Jesus)” adds a helpful clarification to the popular catchphrase of the season, one that will hopefully spring to the minds of kids and adults alike whenever someone is wished a “Merry Christmas”.

child-friendly Bible, such as the Contemporary English Version, the Good News Bible or the New International Reader’s Version, as these allow kids to engage with God’s word directly. However, Bible Stories Every Child Should Know doesn’t set itself up in competition with Scripture, but is designed to be complementary. The author, Kenneth N. Taylor, had a big role in the creation of the New Living Translation of the Bible, and his desire has always been to make God’s word accessible and understandable to all, regardless of age or academic ability. This collection of stories is aimed at early primary-aged children, from four to seven years of age. For families seeking to engage their kids with classic Bible stories and encourage discussion, this is a great addition to the bookshelf. SC 31