Twelve Hymns to Sing at Advent
As Advent comes upon us, I pondered the meaning of Advent and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It got me thinking about the wide variety of styles and themes among the hymns we can sing. This was a tall order, but I have chosen a selection of twelve hymns to sing with your family and friends this year.
Please let us know in the comments which are your favorites and any that I missed.
1.Lo, How a Rose E’ere Blooming – This is a timeless, ancient hymn that so beautifully expresses the coming of God as a baby to mark the first Christmas. The poetic beauty of this hymn is meditative and works into Advent and Christmas beautifully.
2.O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Another timeless and ancient hymn. “Until the Son of God Appear, Rejoice, Rejoice.” It gets to the heart of Advent and preparing every believer’s heart for the coming of God.
3.Of the Father’s Love Begotten – Very old hymn, dating to the 4th century, considering the eternal love of God in Jesus Christ, “alpha and omega, the source, the ending.” Sung in unison to a 12th-century plainsong melody.
4.Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence – Another hymn dating from the 4th century, inviting silent pondering with a sense of awe. “King of Kings yet born of Mary and Lord of Lords in human vesture.”
5.Come Thou Long Expected Jesus – This great Advent hymn of Charles Wesley beautifully expresses many themes of Advent. “Born to set thy people free, from our fears and sins release us. Hope of all the earth thou art, Joy of every longing heart.” Many hymnals include two musical settings of this hymn—the Welsh tune, “Hyfrydol” and the German tune, “Stuttgart.”
6.What Child is This? – A 19th-century hymn given a sense of timelessness because of its usual pairing with the English folk song, “Greensleeves.” It suggests the answer to one of the central questions of Advent, “what child is this?” “This is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.”
There is an incredible amount of amazing renditions of What Child is This on YouTube. Please click the link that follows and choose your favorite one and report back to us in the comments below:
7.Joy to the World – Definitely a hymn to sing at Christmas, this paraphrase of Psalm 98 by Isaac Watts defines the essence of Advent. “Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.”
8.Love Divine all Loves Excelling – This great hymn of Charles Wesley is rarely classified as an Advent hymn. But no hymn better expresses the fulness of Advent in the life of a believer.
9.Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates – This 17th-century hymn provides an encouraging and uplifting perspective on Advent. The tune, “Truro,” punctuates this theme with the highest melody notes on the phrase, “the king of kings is drawing near.”
10.Once in Royal David’s City – This poignant and emotional hymn is a wonderful Advent meditation. Personally, it is one of a small number of hymns that often move me to tears when I sing or hear them.
Here is an incredibly popular version of this great hymn as featured on the BBC Network:
11.On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry – This Advent hymn exhorts us to heed the cry of John the Baptist— “the Lord is nigh.” Therefore, “Let us each our hearts prepare for Christ to come and enter there.”
Beautiful Advent Prayer
12.O Little Town of Bethlehem – This Christmas hymn also contains a beautiful Advent prayer. “O holy child of Bethlehem descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin, and enter in. Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell. O Come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Immanuel."
I hope you have enjoyed this set of hymns to sing this Advent Season. Please leave me a comment below telling one of the following:
1. Which hymn on this list is your favorite?
2. Which hymn did I miss that you suggest I add?
3. Was there one on my list you had not known about?