been listening to Christmas music and anticipating the joyous holiday since July. I do understand, of course — I myself have been known to bang away on Christmas tunes on the piano with nostalgia long after our tree has been sent to the dump (or sitting in our burn pile waiting for the snow to melt).
There is something undeniably exciting and beautiful about the anticipation of Christmas. In the church, we know the four-week period before Christmas as the season of Advent. I think the anticipation and longing for the day of Christ’s birth is the best part of the year.
With Advent, a time of expectedness and haunting mystery, the music is particularly poignant and beautiful. It covers much of what we’re familiar with — the celebratory Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and, my personal favorite, O Come O Come Emmanuel. But there are newer songs bringing an additional perspective to this season we all love so much; Light of the World (We the Kingdom), Make Room (Casting Crowns; lyrics below) and Noel (Lauren Daigle) are just a few of the songs that come to mind.
While anticipation and excitement look forward, this season of Advent also provides a great opportunity for reflection and looking back on our past years. One of the biggest changes in my own life recently has certainly been my new role as Worship Director here at 1st Pres. It was a surprise to me in so many ways, not what I was expecting — but sometimes that’s how God works. I think God, in many ways, tries to teach us to always expect the unexpected.
One of the unexpected joys I am finding in this position is an opportunity to dive deeper into music I am already familiar with and to learn new music I may never have had a reason to learn or listen to before. Music has always been the primary story teller in my own life, and Advent has a pretty exciting story to tell.
While I may give my son a hard time for listening to Christmas music so early or the DJs a hard time for switching over before the carved pumpkins have hit the compost pile, the truth is that I myself have been listening to Christmas music for just as long. In some ways I have been anticipating Advent — the season of anticipation — for a while now. Learning and discovering this beautiful music, both old and new, has been a welcomed and unexpected addition to my life.
Expect the unexpected. That continues to be a phrase of joy in my life and this year is no different. Advent is a time to be surprised by the joy and mystery of the birth of Christ all over again, year after year.
In His Name, Jenny
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.