The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Name that Advent tune

But keep those carols at bay

Maybe for you the song is "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" or "Comfort, Comfort, Now My People."

While standing at the copy machine, I happened to mention my task of writing this brief discourse on Advent hymns. "Well there's 'Savior of the Nations, Come,' " volunteered a colleague while collating his copies--except he used its German name. A second person, coming late to this conversation as we entered the elevator, offered up the more widely known, "Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel."

When I think of Advent, I can't help but hum "Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers." The list of Advent songs is as short as the season, so it takes a quick perusal through the Lutheran Book of Worship, the newer With One Voice, or even the book of my childhood, the red Service Book and Hymnal, to jog the memory.

And there they appear: songs of hope and expectation, songs of preparation and fulfillment. As Susan Briehl writes, they take us around the world and beyond our shortsightedness.

While the secular world pulls at us to shop and sing carols sooner than we should, Advent singing keeps us looking East. Yes, Love, the Lord, is on the way.

It's enough to make a believer rejoice. It's enough to make a believer sing.


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February issue


Embracing diversity