Tag Archives: carols

Advent Songs

advent-singing

The season of Advent has arrived. But nothing kicks the legs out from under our observance of Advent like premature Christmas songs. Advent, as I’m sure you know, is the season leading up to Christmas, designed to focus us on the hope and expectation of Christ’s arrival, his advent in the world. It does this by reminding us what the world was like before Christ — in darkness. And it also uses that remembrance to bolster our desire to see him come again in glory at his second and final advent. The spirit of Advent, then, is of watchfulness and waiting. Because of this, Christmas songs are inappropriate to the spirit of the Advent season. They don’t jive; they’re incongruous. Continue reading

Simple Doors to the Profound

Old tree

I was listening to the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” today, as recorded by Emmylou Harris. There’s something about the way she sings it that perfectly preserves that sweet simplicity that I feel like it ought to have. There’s a great little story about the writing of the carol. A certain Mr. Philip Brooks, an Episcopal priest from the 19th century who was rector of a church in Philadelphia, wrote the words as a poem after visiting Bethlehem on a trip to the Holy Land. He asked his church organist, a Mr. Lewis Redner, to compose a tune for it. Mr. Redner recounts the story like this: Continue reading