Today is the first Sunday of Advent. For those of us who refuse to live by the commercial calendar, it’s the start of the Christmas season. Well, not really that even, but the preparation for the Christmas season. I’ve mentioned before that one church where I worked, the minister would not allow any Christmas music until Christmas Eve.
I enjoy the music of Advent – O Come, O Come Emmanual being one of my favorites. Strangely enough, I didn’t hear it or get to sing it today, even though I went to two different churches. First, we went to Fourth Presbyterian. It was Communion Sunday, and so the musical portion of the service was a bit abbreviated.
My cousin, Sam Taylor, had invited me to sing at his church, St. Mathew Methodist, at the 11:00 am service. Their choir was singing the Vivaldi Gloria, and they needed someone to fill in on the bass. A string quartet accompanied the group. They, too, were having communion, so I took part there, as well.
It was interesting to see how the two services were conducted. The Methodist version was actually much more formal than the Presbyterian. I guess there are variations according to the desires of each congregation and pastor. On the way home I was scanning channels and came across Tabernacle Baptist Church’s broadcast. No mention of Advent, only continual blathering about how the King James version of the Bible is the only way to be saved. Oh well.
2 thoughts on “Gloria”
We got a dee-doubly-do dose of “O Come Emmanuel” type music yesterday at University Lutheran. Some really good hymns from the LBW. There is such a richness of such music from that tradition, and the Anglican as well. I’m with you on the Advent celebration: the anticipation is really great, followed by the reality of Christmas.
I’m not surprised that a formal Presbyterian churc or an indpendent church didn’t do much to recognize Advent, since following church calendar is part of formal Presbyterian Church Order, and not at all acknowledged in any formal way in any indpendent congregation that I have ever heard of.
As far as I know, only Lutherans, Episcopals and their offbranches like Methodists observe formal church calendars with all the Lent, Advent, etc. seasons.
I’ve been a member of a couple of Presbyterian churches and there have been times when there isn’t any mention of Christmas at all in the preaching until the Sunday before Christmas.
Probably one reason why Christmas took off so much commercially in this country is that it filled a void in the 1800’s when most Protestants did not observe Christmas that much or for more than a day or so, and new immigrants from Europe with a Catholic or Lutheran heritage wanted to observe it longer.