Join us this Sunday as we begin the season of Advent and launch into our Advent series: O Come O Come Immanuel. In this series we'll be going through the nativity stories that are found in Matthew's gospel. We begin this Sunday with Matthew 1:1-17. Our full liturgy can be found here. Here are the songs that we'll sing together:
1. COME THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be mid to up-tempo.
Song info: The first two stanzas of this hymn are attributed to Charles Wesley in 1744 but the final two were not penned until 1978 by Mark E. Hunt. This is one of the rare advent hymns that focuses on the theme of anticipation. In the song, Jesus has not yet come but the people of God are eagerly expecting him. We can sing this song today remembering his first advent and also longing for him to come again.
2. O Come O Come Emmanuel
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style.
Song info: This hymn was first published in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum in 1710. The exact authorship of the lyrics and the tune itself are unknown but it has reached its modern form through the help of Johannes Herringsdorf. This is a true Advent hymn as it is anticipated the appearance of Christ rather than celebrating his arrival. It is sung from the perspective of God's people mourning in exile and awaiting the promised Davidic king.
3. LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, YE MIGHTY GATES
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be a slow tempo.
Song Info: This classic hymn was originally part of George Frideric Handel's Messiah in 1741. It has come to be considered a Christmas song about Christ's advent but it's actually about Christ's ascension into heaven after the resurrection. It comes from Psalm 24 - the Psalm of ascension. In that Psalm, the king of glory is coming to his glorious throne in Jerusalem. The gates of Jerusalem are to lift up for him to enter. This song connects that Psalm to Jesus Christ entering the heavenly throne room and sitting next to God the Father after his victory of the cross had been won. It also connects the ascension to the filling of the Holy Spirit that happens to every believer. Christ is seated in heaven with the Father but also seated in our hearts and lives by the Holy Spirit.
4. LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is a slow tempo.
Song Info: This hymn, in one way or another, dates back to the fifth century. It is one of the oldest surviving Christian hymns, possibly dating even earlier to AD 275. It was originally written in Greek to be a eucharistic hymn. Though it has come to be recognized as a Christmas song, it's true emphasis is on the Lord's Supper. That's why we'll sing it on Sunday before celebrating the sacrament. We will also likely sing it at other times of the year, as well.
5. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus
Style: This is a song written in a modal key and, for that reason, has a middle-eastern feel. It employs the use of a cantor and the congregation sings the refrain. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This song was written by Janèt Sullivan Whitaker in 2002. It is a true Advent song in that it is a prayer for the Lord Jesus to come soon. It puts us in the place of ancient Israel awaiting the initial arrival of the Messiah while at the same time allowing us to anticipate Jesus' return from our place today.
See you Sunday!