I’m not saying it’s time to break into “Old Lang Syne” yet, or anything like that, but we are less than a month away from a new Liturgical Year in the Church (November 28th is the First Sunday In Advent). Advent is a great time of preparation for the second coming of Christ and celebration of Lord’s birth in Bethlehem.
Since it is a new Liturgical Year, there should be a noticeable change in our Liturgies that should set apart this season from Ordinary Time and the Christmas Season. Of course, our environment changes from the white and gold we used on the Solemnity of Christ the King to violet, the liturgical color of Advent. But setting apart the season is much more than a change in colors. One great way to set this season apart is to have a theme song that picks up the themes of the readings that can be sung at our Liturgies each Sunday during Advent. Using this song at all of the Masses at your parish helps show unity within the whole community. If your priests or deacons can pick up this theme in their homilies as well, this brings a connection to the whole season and will help people to live out the message in their daily lives.
Some examples of Advent theme songs are:
- Ready The Way by Curtis Stephan (Available from spiritandsong.com and in Spirit & Song Volume II)
- Awake To The Day by Ed Bolduc & John Barker (Available from World Library Publications and in Voices As One Volume II)
- We Wait For You by Tom Booth (Available from spiritandsong.com and in Spirit & Song Volume II)
- Emmanuel by Steve Angrisano (Available from spiritandsong.com and in Spirit & Song Volume II)
- Immanuel by Michael Card (Available in Spirit & Song Vol. II)
If you choose to use a theme song, whether it’s one of these or another song you may find appropriate, consider moving it around to different places in the Liturgy from week to week so it doesn’t become too redundant.
Another musical change that you can make to highlight the season is to change the parts of the Mass. Since the Gloria is omitted in Advent, you may want to consider using a setting that contains a Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy) to draw attention to the penitential nature of the season. If you are considering using new music and changing the Mass parts, remember that we always need to keep in mind our community’s abilities and not give them too many new things to learn at once.
As we celebrate this season of expectation and waiting for the Lord, let us be filled with hope just as Mary was, waiting for the arrival of her child and let us have the zeal of John The Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord in the desert.