Advent is only a month away. You get a special gift this Sunday if you love Advent–you get to immerse in the themes and some of the beautiful traditional hymns of the season–it is a bonus Advent Sunday for those who feel it is too short.
You also get a special gift this Sunday if you do not love Advent as you usually experience it, if it represents a season of over-busyness racing from school performances to concerts to Revels to parties to family gatherings, or if you feel stressed out and exhausted from the pressure to create the perfect Christmas experience of decorations and presents and cards and cookies and meals, or if you are one of the many whose life feels empty, lonely and blue at this darkest time of year.
Whatever our experience of Advent, it can make it dramatically better if we prepare ourselves for it.
If we love it, planning ahead can help us make sure we have the experiences we want.
If over-busyness or pressure ruin it for us, planning ahead is our only hope for carving out the time to make it a spiritual season with strong boundaries around the activities we need for our soul and sanity.
If it is a sad time, preparing can help us focus on the spiritual tools and support we need to find the light that shines in the darkness that the darkness cannot overcome.
Advent is arguably the most important season in the church year when society is going through events that make it hard to find the light in all the darkness. The wisdom of the ancients designed it to lead us to the inner transformation we need in order to solve what seem like impossible problems. We can gain the benefits of its transformative powers only if we prepare ourselves to seek them this Advent. The whole creation longs for us to do this.
Music is a very important part of Advent. Advent hymns are as beautiful as Christmas carols and deserve to be better known and loved. We will sing several traditional ones this Sunday. The choir will sing a verse of “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night” as the Introit and the Taizé chant, “Ubi Caritas” as the Anthem. Choir Director and Pianist Annemieke McLane will play pieces by Rebikoff, Bartok and J.S. Bach’s French Suites IV and V.
Here are versions of two of the Advent hymns we will be singing.