It happens every year. The evenings grow darker as the weeks pass, and we all look longingly out the windows of work or school, counting down dwindling days until Christmas break. We admire the already-strung Christmas lights and cue up nostalgic movies. All these cultural signifiers shout “Christmas is coming!” And so we prepare our pantries, our gift wrap, and our front yards.
The celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is fast approaching, and with it comes an abundance of music. It’s easy to bypass Advent and skip ahead to Christmas. But Advent is a crucial time of reflection inwardly as we prepare for the Prince of Peace and what His birth means for believers. Music is just one of the many ways in which you can share about Jesus and reflect on why Advent is an important part of our Church Year. Here are our top children’s hymns for Advent to add to the mix of music your children or students will hear.
This Advent hymn is among the few that can be definitively attributed to the “father of Latin hymnody” himself, Ambrose of Milan. Listen to this beloved hymn and then check out its rich history.
“Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
Our Church Year begins with Holy Scripture’s conclusion. The Church’s celebration of the Saints Triumphant and its recognition of Christ’s second coming in the end times smoothly leads us to Advent, the time of waiting for our Savior’s coming—past, present, and future—and the time of repentance in anticipation of His coming.
Edwin T. Childs adds to his series of settings for minimum pedal, providing a collection of hymn tunes for the season of Advent in Advent with Minimum Pedal. These inventive preludes are suitable as hymn introductions, preludes, voluntaries, and postludes, and will appeal to organists with limited pedal abilities or seasoned organists that need something in a pinch.
Advent is a season of preparation and repentance as we anticipate the coming of our Lord and Savior. Help your congregation prepare with these five Advent settings for choral, organ, and handbell groups.
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.
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.
“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.
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.