Advent songs are hard to come by. During the four weeks of Advent, many worship leaders, who try to observe the Christian Year intentionally, end up out of frustration resorting to the premature singing of the blissful songs of Jesus’ birth.
Sure, singing and enjoying our favorite Christmas songs before Christmas is okay – Jesus has already been born! – but all we’re saying is that singing them early can hinder our full participation in the spirit of Advent, the season of expectation and preparation for the coming Christ.
Not Enough Advent Songs for Sunday Events
The problem is, that we have four Sundays of Advent and not enough Advent songs to fill our set lists, that is, without committing the sacrilege of duplicating a song. But don’t worry, if we keep with the Christian Year, we have twelve days (from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5), including two Sundays, to sing our cheery Christmas songs. Then again, most of us are sick of those songs by the time Christmas rolls around. Oh, the cultural predicaments we worship leaders find ourselves in.
Here’s what we suggest: Much like we avoid singing “Alleluia” through Lent until Easter comes, hold off singing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” through Advent until Christmas arrives. Instead, sing Advent songs through Christmas Eve.
But don’t just sing Advent songs, tell the people why you’re singing them. Explain to them the setting of the season – the people of God in exile, longing for the coming Messiah. Give them a little history – basically, the entire second half of the Old Testament revolves around the story of God’s people in exile, awaiting the coming of a Savior. Help them feel the emotions of the season – suspense, anticipation, a bit of anxiety. Bring out the themes of the season – helplessness, hope, coming joy. Lead them into the actions of the season – waiting, repentance, lament.
Does Your Church Know What Advent Songs Are?
If you are in a contemporary church, chances are that many of your congregants have little or no idea what Advent is. Teach them. If you don’t, you will make them mad by refusing to sing “Joy to the World” before December 25th.
Here are some Advent songs that we have found to be helpful in leading our churches in the proper observance of Advent. As you can see, the list is relatively small. The contemporary songs below were probably not written specifically for the season of Advent, but they certainly fit. Let’s help each other by adding to the list. Think of songs that place us in the setting of exile, in the desperate need of a Savior, songs of repentance and seeking God, of waiting and longing for Jesus to come, including His Second Coming. Special prize for someone who names a good, congregational song about the Second Coming of Jesus (“Days of Elijah” doesn’t count).
Traditional Advent Hymns
- “O Come O Come Emmanuel” – we are really digging this version, which is a collabortion between For King and Country and Need To Breath.
- “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” – Meredith Andrews version ALL DAY. It’s so beautiful.
- “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – We love JJ Heller‘s version.
Contemporary Advent Songs
- “All I Have” by Brennan & Dobbleman
- “All Who Are Thirsty” by Brown & Robertson
- “Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green
- “Dwell” by Casey Corum
- “Everlasting God” by Brenton Brown
- “Faithful One” by Brian Doerksen
- “Give Us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall
- “Good to Me” by Craig Musseau
- “Hungry” by Kathryn Scott
- “If You Say Go” by Diane Thiel
- “Mighty to Save” by Fielding & Morgan
- “Prepare the Way” by Charlie Hall
- “Prepare the Way of the Lord” by Jeremy Riddle
- “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker
- “Refiner’s Fire” by Brian Doerksen
- “Unchanging” by Chris Tomlin
- “You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman
- “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman
Embracing the Seasons of Advent: A Spotify Playlist for Reflection and Hope
As the bustling pace of modern life sweeps us along, it’s easy to lose sight of the profound significance of Advent, a season steeped in reflection and anticipation. Advent invites us to pause, to contemplate the profound mystery of Christ’s birth and to prepare our hearts for His return in glory.
This carefully curated Spotify playlist accompanies you on this journey of preparation, offering a blend of traditional hymns, contemporary worship songs, and instrumental pieces that capture the essence of Advent. From the stirring melodies of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” to the introspective lyrics of “The First Noel,” each song invites you to delve into the depths of faith and hope.
As you listen, let the music transport you to the quiet stillness of a Bethlehem night, where a humble manger held the promise of salvation. Let the melodies ignite a spark of anticipation within you, reminding you of the second coming of Christ, when He will return to establish His eternal kingdom.
Throughout Advent, allow these songs to be your companions, guiding you through a season of preparation, reflection, and unwavering hope.
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