Pondering Christ in Our Work as Church Musicians

A common complaint in our modern culture is the swiftness of time. It seems like every month we look at each other and ask, “Where did the last month go?” For church musicians, this is especially true during Advent as Christmas approaches, more closely followed than we might wish by Lent and Easter. It seems as though there is never enough time to adequately prepare our music and our hearts for each season.

Music of the Month: When Morning Dawns: Nine Preludes for Advent and Christmas

David Maxwell has crafted nine extensive organ settings for Advent and Christmas in this collection. Maxwell uses a variety of styles ranging from introspective (W ZLOBIE LEZY) to strong and majestic (CONSOLATION). The collection also includes a joyful toccata of ANTIOCH and a lively swung setting of GO TELL IT. These settings will be enjoyable for all levels.

Waiting for the Light of the World

“Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.”

These words mark the opening of the service of Evening Prayer (Lutheran Service Book, p. 243). The language of light and darkness reminds us that Christ, our light, has overcome the darkness of sin, death, and the evil one. Christ as the light of the world is taken directly from Scripture and is a recurring theme throughout Advent. As a new Church Year begins in the season of Advent, we are surrounded by reminders in Scripture, in hymns and the liturgy, in traditions, and in nature, that light remains a crucial component both of our biology and our faith.

Finding Advent and Christmas Music This Season

Advent is finally here, and Christmas is just around the corner. This is a great time for celebration, from setting up the Christmas tree and placing the nativity scene to singing hymns and carols for all to hear. If you’re looking for additional ways to get into the Advent and Christmas spirit, check out these musical ideas below!

Emmanuel Has Come—Even to Tired Church Musicians

As Christmas approaches, everything around us tells us to be merry and happy—and we should be as we rejoice at the remembrance of the birth of Christ. For us church musicians, though, this time of year finds many of us busy, anxious, and stressed, a far cry from the Christmas cheer everyone around us espouses. Fortunately for us, our tasks during this season lead us to the truth, the ultimate cause of rejoicing.

Product of the Month: Carol of the Lamb

The Old Testament is full of promises of a Savior, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than by looking at how those promises are fulfilled in the New Testament? “Carol of the Lamb,” a new choral piece for Christmas, is a perfect way to bring this idea to your congregation, as it features breathtaking music and references to Psalm 23.

Keeping Special Musicians Engaged after Christmas

It is often at Christmas that church music directors pull out all the stops—and all the special musicians. Special musicians, whether they are singers or instrumentalists, are usually willing to share their talents at this festive time of year. But how can church music directors engage these other musicians all year round?

Singing the O Antiphons during Advent

During the Advent season, churches may set aside time to reflect on the O Antiphons of Advent through worship and song. What are these O Antiphons and how can church musicians incorporate them into the church’s song this Advent season?

Finding Rest in the Gospel through Music

“Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest.”

One of my favorite lines from the hymn “For All the Saints,” these words are a source of incredible comfort in a weary world. While we wait for the eternal rest the hymn mentions, music provides a temporary relief from struggle and labor.

Preparing the Church Sanctuary for Advent

The season of Advent provides a great opportunity to stop and pause, to wait with joyful anticipation for Christmas. While the rest of the world may be singing Christmas carols and decorating trees, the church patiently waits for the coming of Christ. During this time, the altar guild and church office have a special opportunity to help reinforce the message of Advent through the paraments, bulletins, and other adornments that are used in the church sanctuary.

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