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December 6 @ 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
5:45pm Evening Prayer (Church)
6:00pm Eucharist (Church)
6:30pm Potluck Dinner (Parish Hall)
7:00pm Advent Program for Adults (Parish Hall) and for Children (Undercroft)
Anticipate, Prepare, and Rejoice: Reflections on the Hymns of Advent
Although consumer society bombards us with the sights and sounds of a type of sanitized Christmas starting early in November, and concluding no later than Christmas Day, the Church has always observed time differently. The four weeks of Advent provide a time to anticipate Christ’s second coming by pondering His first coming. They allow us to prepare to relive the birth of Christ in Bethlehem just as we prepare expectantly for His return, and they permit us to rejoice in God’s promises and prophecies fulfilled by Christ’s incarnation. The Church has at its disposal a multitude of resources to help inform and enliven our liturgical and spiritual piety during Advent, not the least of which is the hymnody which we sing.
After each of our Wednesday Advent services in December, our organist, Benjamin Kolodziej will present a study that will engage with many of these hymns, delving into their histories, the stories of their writers or composers, and how they have edified Christians throughout the centuries. We will explore “Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People” and “Prepare the Way, O Zion,” two raucous dance-like tunes which are generally sung in much too dignified a manner these days, also encountering Ambrose’ ancient chant, “Saviour of the Nations, Come,” which was so cherished by Luther that he translated it into German, ensuring it would find favor in non-Roman Catholic circles, and further contemplating “Lo, He Comes, with Clouds Descending,” one of Charles Wesley’s five thousand hymns, so rich in biblical and scriptural imagery. Among other hymns we will encounter within this study, these texts offer us a rich tapestry of theological ideas through which we can approach this season of preparation, and which will make our Christmas celebrations all the more joyous.