Hymns – Advent and Christmas, pt.2

Tonight we will be singing our favorite Advent and Christmas hymns.  Traditionally, the church has emphasized Christmas, not so much as a baby in a manager, but as the celebration of God come-to-earth.  Therefore, in Advent, our hymns emphasize both the Incarnation and the Parousia (Second-Coming).  In the first two Advent hymns we are singing, “Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”, Charles Wesley draws heavily upon St. John the Divine’s visions in Revelation of a conquering mighty king surrounded by his heavenly host who has come to deliver his people back to him.  But within these hymns, Wesley will also work in different messianic visions from the Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah and Zechariah. He weaves these two events, the Incarnation and the Parousia, into one story. The final two advent hymns we are singing draw primarily on Isaiah 40.  This chapter begins that larger portion of Isaiah known as the Book of Consolation.  Whereas Isaiah 1-39 are generally oracles of judgment and condemnation, Isaiah 40-55 represent a drastic change in tone towards God’s consolation, mercy, and rescue of his people from exile.  We will look at these scriptural backgrounds of each of these hymns tonight. 

The hymns we are singing this week are:

Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth (c.385, Ambrose) (hymnary)

Lo He Come with Clouds Descending (1758, Charles Wesley, Anglican) (Matt 24:30, Rev. 5:11-13, Zech. 12:10 (hymnary)
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (1744, Charles Wesley, Anglican) (Isa. 61:1-4, Rev. 3:21) (hymnary
Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People (1671, Johann Olearius, Lutheran) (Isa. 40:1-5) (hymnary)
On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist Cry (1736, Charles Coffin, Roman Catholic) (Isa. 40:1-7) (hymnary)

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (1849, Edmund Sears, Unitarian) (hymnary)
On This Day (c.1360) (history) (hymnary)
Angels We Have Heard on High (18th c., French Roman Catholic Carol) (hymnary)
The First Noel (17th c. English Carol) (hymnary)
Silent Night (1818, Joseph Mohr, Roman Catholic) (hymnary)

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Chicken Marbella. Carols begin about 6:45. Hope to see you here. Please bring a friend.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

Isaiah 40:1-2

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