Soundtrack for a New Year

Today we’re featuring another post in our Advent series based on the seven themes from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Advent devotional Born a Child and Yet a King: The Gospel in the Carols. “Denouement” is the theme of today’s article by Katie Laitkep. 

If a Hollywood studio decided to turn the last year of your life into a movie, would you feel the urge to step out of the room when certain scenes played? Maybe you’d go to get popcorn when the film got to the part depicting a bad break-up, a concerning doctor’s appointment, or a difficult phone call from a family member. 

It’s not that you’d want the screenwriter to edit those moments out of the script—you know that doing so would unravel the rest of the plot. At the same time, you might not want to sit through the hard parts again. You also might not want to replay the soundtrack that accompanies those scenes. 

The songs we played on repeat in the year’s bigger moments could tell their own story about how we viewed the events of 2023. Looking back on the last twelve months, each of my most-played worship songs came alongside events that I’ll never be able to forget—some that feel almost too tender to share. I must have played some of those songs hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Their melodies echoed in the background when news about a family member left my heart too grieved to sing, when a friend’s text message put a lump in my throat, and when anxiety about the future clouded my mind. 

Perhaps you had music playing in the background of similar moments. When you look back on this year, did the songs that strengthened your faith in the hardest moments echo with notes of eternity? That was certainly true for me.

The Music That Marked the Year 

If you have a moment, grab a notepad and draw a line straight down the middle of a page. On the left side, write “Scenes.” On the right, “Songs.” Under “Scenes,” jot down three key events you would include in the movie version depicting your life this year. Which moments filled you with the most emotion—whether joy or heartbreak, rejection or relief?

Next consider the songs that accompanied those moments. Did you turn to certain melodies—whether old or new—to express your grief or your gratitude? Do you remember being moved by specific lyrics at church or when a friend sent you a playlist? 

When I made my own list of memorable songs and scenes, I was surprised at the way certain songs seemed to bookend big moments. The day before my brother started chemo, we stood side-by-side in his church as the worship team sang, 

You have no rival,
You have no equal,
Now and forever,
God, You reign.

Those words reassured my heart that no cancer diagnosis was a threat to the Lord. We sang the same song again in my home church the day before my brother had his six-month post-chemo scans. The lyrics felt just as relevant as we clung to the truth that nothing could happen that God Himself had not allowed. 

But if I could only choose one song to represent our cancer journey over the last year, it would be the Shane and Shane song that I played on repeat from the day of my brother’s diagnosis to the day his oncologist told him he was in remission: 

I don’t know what You’re doing
But I know what You’ve done
I’m fighting a battle
That You’ve already won. 

It was a song we sang in moments of grief and fear, and when we needed to be reminded that our confidence was ultimately not in the outcome of treatment, but in the victory Christ already accomplished. The song declared God’s sovereignty: the kind of soundtrack every year needs. 

The Last Song 

If you’ve been reading Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s devotional Born a Child and Yet a King throughout this Advent season, you’ve seen how songs can “give biblical shape to our worship [and] press the realities of the gospel into our musical memory.”1 This is true for Christmas carols, but it’s also true for the songs we sing throughout the year. 


I’ve noticed that the songs that strengthen my faith in the hardest seasons—life’s most climactic moments—tend to be songs that point to the denouement of God’s eternal plan. “Denouement” isn’t a word we use in our everyday language, but it shows up as a title in the final section of Born a Child and Yet a King. One dictionary defines denouement as “the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.”2 The last notes of the orchestration play as the movie comes to an end and all storylines are resolved in a satisfying way. 

As followers of Jesus, we’ve been told how the story will conclude. Ephesians 1:9–10 tells us that God “made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.” 1 Corinthians 15:24–27 says, “Then comes the end, when [Christ] hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death. For God has put everything under his feet.” And in Revelation 21:3, we’re given a glorious picture of what’s to come: “Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God.” 

Scripture says that the denouement of God’s plan will come with a soundtrack, and Revelation hints that it will include both old songs, like those “of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3) and new ones (Rev. 5:9). We’ll sing because, as Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says in Born a Child and Yet a King

No matter what happens in houses of government, in dens of wickedness, or in our own individual homes and lives, Jesus wins. All is well in heaven. All will be well on earth.3

Heaven wins. Heaven rules.

What if you filled the next year with songs that reminded you of this reality?

Songs for a New Year

There may be songs from the last year that you wish you could leave behind, but God may be using them to remind you of His eternal purposes. I have a few that I wish we could simply retire. One came to mind a few weeks ago, as my family waited for results that would tell us whether or not my brother was still in remission from cancer. My church had played the song on a Sunday in the middle of his treatment, during a service we had livestreamed 1,732 miles from home. The chorus began, 

I won't be shaken
I won't be moved
My God is faithful
His promise is true.

We had listened to the song on repeat that weekend as we left the hotel where we were staying and drove toward a local hiking spot. That Sunday afternoon, my brother and I stood at the edge of a rocky cliff overlooking the cancer hospital and the rest of the city. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of the word denouement. I didn’t consider how many times the phrase “faithful and true” appears in the book of Revelation. But looking back, it’s not a surprise that the song, which strengthened my faith, resounded with themes of eternity. 

Today, we stand at the dawn of a new year. We don’t know the big moments that will fill the calendar or how they will shake the foundations of our world. But before 2024 begins, we can ask the Lord to help us face what comes with the soundtrack of eternity in our hearts and the songs of heaven always before us.

Dawn Wilson knows what it’s like to trust the Lord through a cancer journey. She’ll show you how it has pulled her closer into God’s embrace through the short series “Trusting God with Cancer,” heard earlier this week on Revive Our Hearts


Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Born a Child and yet a King: The Gospel in the Carols: A 31-Day Advent Devotional (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2023), 10.

“Denouement.” The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. (December 12, 2023).

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Born a Child and yet a King, 152.

About the Author

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep was working as a hospital teacher when God called her to join Revive Our Hearts as a staff writer. She serves remotely from Houston, Texas, where God sustains her through saltwater beaches, Scripture, and her local church. Katie's … read more …

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