It's still November; there's still no snow on the ground; I still don't have much of my Christmas shopping done; but Advent will arrive this Sunday. It's the beginning of a new church year. This season of expectation and preparation begins with the lighting of the first Advent wreath candle.
Sometimes in our rush to sing Christmas carols and hymns we forget about the great music of Advent, which is a shame. There is such a variety among them as well, and I'll try to highlight a few of the greatest in the next few weeks. This first week, I want to mention one of the best known: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The tune and text are both hundred of years old, but the origin of each is obscure. The Latin origin of the text and the Gregorian chant tune are perfect for the theme of the first Advent candle: prophecy. Some people also refer to it as a symbol of hope and expectation. In this season of darkness, we yearn for the return of the light. The symbolism of Advent is among the most theatrical of the church year, and the hymn text previews the entire season for us.
The choir will be taking the week off in appreciation of their participation in the Thanksgiving service on Wednesday. But we will still have special music because David will be playing trumpet throughout the service. We'll be playing more Baroque music by Telemann for the prelude and postlude. The Rainbow Ringers will also be playing along with one hymn. As always, I hope you enjoy the music and that this week it deepens your appreciation for the start of this new season!