People love Christmas music. You can hardly go to a store without hearing people humming along. You cannot go to a restaurant without it being part of the ambiance in the background. You can hardly find a radio station that is unwilling to blatantly blare the music of the holiday. We know that the celebration of this season is so good that even if we do not understand it, we can hardly contain it, and perhaps the best way to honor it is to sing about it.
This sermon series is called Singing Through Advent, because there is some news that is so good that we cannot help but to sing about it!
There is a difference between Christmas and Advent. In the Christian calendar, Advent is the season that leads up to Christmas. The Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and goes for twelve days, ending with Epiphany. This doesn’t make much difference to the watching world. As far as the Seattle Center and Macy’s are concerned, it’s “The Holidays,” and the songs that are sung in the shopping malls and bathrooms are mixed with sacred and secular. Joy to the World and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. The Hallelujah Chorus and All I Want for Christmas. This conglomeration reflects both this nation’s history and its present reality. Perhaps it’s helpful for the church to be clear about how we understand this season, even as our children experience the delight of visiting Santa’s workshop.
We enter Advent, which is a season of preparation. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin ‘adventusʼ which means ‘coming.’ We are expecting the coming of our Lord. Advent is the season, four Sundays, just before Christmas. It is not just a time of waiting, but also a time of preparation. Just as Israel was waiting for, preparing for, and expecting the arrival of the Messiah, still today, Christians take on attitude of expectation in order to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the incarnation of God, in Jesus Christ. Not only do we prepare our hearts for Christmas, but we also prepare for the promised return of Christ, when he will come again to bring the world to rights, and make all things new.
Many of the songs that we sing in worship this season, are the songs of Advent—looking forward to the coming of Christ. Pay attention to how our singing reflects our preparation.
With all of the wonderful songs of the season, some of the most helpful for our preparation are the Advent songs in the Bible. Did you know that there are Advent songs in the Bible?
There is the Prophet’s Song. The Prophet Isaiah sang for light to come in the midst of darkness (Isaiah 9). There is Zechariah’s Song, the priest who sang with faith after being visited by an angel, believing that even in the silence, God was doing a new thing (Luke 1). There is Simeon’s Song, the song of praise from a devout and righteous man, who sang with Jesus in his arms (Luke 2). There is Mary’s Song (Luke 1), whose song expressed the movement of her soul from a difficult journey to a place of trust and exuberance. And there is the Angel’s Song, a familiar song of peace announcing Christ’s birth (Luke 2).
These songs are meant to shape God’s people during Advent. My hope is that we will rediscover and rekindle some of the joy of this season by exploring these original Advent songs of the Bible. May this season be a season of great joy and hope as we pay homage to the Hope of the World.
Dec 1: Advent 1 – Prophet’s Song, Isaiah 8:19;9:7
Dec 8: Advent 2 – Zechariah’s Song, Luke 1:57-80
Dec 15: Advent 3 – Simeon’s Song, Luke 2:22-35
Dec 22: Advent 4 – Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46-56
Christmas Eve Worship
Family Candlelight and Communion Services at 5:30 and 7:00pm
Choir, Candlelight and Communion Service at 10:00pm
Sermon : Angel’s Song, Luke 2:1-14