This coming Sunday marks the end of the advent season at Faith Presbyterian Church. After this we'll be packing up the Christmas songs and moving on. But before we do we'll celebrate the birth of our Lord one last time. Here's what's coming up:
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. 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.
3. All Glory be to Christ
Style: This is a newer song played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. You will recognize the melody, though the chords are a bit different. The song has a lot of energy but it is played at a slower tempo. It has something of an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: Played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, this song was arranged by Kings Kaleidoscope and lyrics written by Dustin Kensrue. Kensrue is responsible for writing many excellent contemporary hymns and worship songs that we play at Faith. Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung around the New Year because it is a song of farewell. It bids adieu to the old year in order to welcome the new. Lyrically, this version of the song is about giving all glory to Christ, which is an appropriate parallel. If we've accomplished anything good in the past year, let's use this opportunity to give glory to Christ and thank him for establishing the work of our hands.
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. Good Christian Men Rejoice
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song. It is mid to up-tempo.
Song Info: I love the whimsical nature of this hymn. The melody dates from the middle ages (1328) and it was originally a mixture of German and Latin. It was known as "In Dulci Jubilo". It is a hymn full of joy at the coming of Christ. My favorite line is "now ye need not fear the grave/ peace! peace! Jesus Christ was born to save". We will conclude our Christmas music with this song as we look toward the hope of the resurrection.
See you Sunday!