Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Annual Advent Debate

Not surprisingly, the debate already started in the comments section under Sunday's hymn.

Should we sing Christmas carols during the season of Advent?

I don't think so myself, though I know I'm outnumbered. If you followed the Advent link on Sunday's post you may have seen another link to the same question. Writer Dennis Bratcher covers the question pretty well, I think, particularly in this section:

It is only in commercial advertising that the Christmas season begins the first of December (or the first of August!). (...) Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas, not the celebration of it. It is included with Christmas the same way that Lent is included with Easter. However, Advent is just as different from Christmas as is Lent from Easter.

There are exceptions, of course. Some denominations don't have a long-standing Advent tradition; some hymnals may not really have enough explicitly Advent-themed hymns. I think special Christmas programs that happen before Christmas Eve are excepted also; people go to them expecting to hear or sing carols. But in worship, for those four Sundays, if you have the Advent material to use, you should use it. Naturally, in some places congregations are rediscovering Advent while others are casting it aside for the next musical trend.

The debate is going on elsewhere in blogland (in more places than I know about, I'm sure), and you can even vote on it.

Looking ahead to those carols, I was expounding on the dozen or so that everyone wants to sing at Christmas. In fact, the number was just one I made up on the spur of the moment but it turns out that I was pretty close. If you want to express your opinion on which carols make up that dozen (as well as the next five or six in line), check out the Christmas carol blog of commenter Leland Bryant Ross, who helped start the debate here. I've already done it myself.

1 comment:

David Clark said...

I agree. Here's a brief posting about my journey from a pastor fresh out of seminary who forbade carols in advent to one who delights in belting them out during Advent. http://accdocpastor.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-scandal-of-singing-christmas-carols.html