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Showing posts from December 17, 2015

"Christmas" hymns during Advent -- a source of angst among many clergy and worship planners

"Christmas" hymns sung during Advent seem to generate a large amount of angst among my fellow clergy/liturgy planners. Some people balk at the idea of singing "Christmas" hymns during Advent. And I'm the first to admit -- and have admitted repeatedly -- that I am a recovering Advent Purist myself. 
But here's the thing: if you take a close look at the hymn texts - what is actually being sung, what is actually being proclaimed, theologically, in the words -- you could make the argument that the assignment of a hymn to the "Advent" or "Christmas" section of the hymnal may have been somewhat arbitrary.
Here's what I mean: some hymns found in the "Advent" section of the 1982 Hymnal mention the birth of Jesus as an accomplished historical fact, already having happened. For example, in Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, (Hymn #66), we proclaim,
Born thy people to deliver/ born a child, and yet a king/ born to reign in us for ever/ now t…