Happy Advent! Happy New Year! This year, with the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on Christmas Eve, we experience the shortest Advent season there can be. Advent is a beautiful season of expectation as we hear the thrilling and familiar words of prophecy and yearning for redemption, which culminate in the birth of Christ. 

This Third Sunday of Advent we light the rose candle, which signifies that we are halfway through our journey to Christmas. The day is traditionally known as “Gaudete Sunday” because the opening word of the introit for the day is “gaudete,” meaning “rejoice,” and this is the day’s theme. The introit is a setting of the Advent Prose, Rorate coeli, by the late local composer, John Becker. This text, which begins, “Drop down, ye heavens, from above,” is taken from the book of Isaiah and expresses the longing for the Savior. The offertory anthem is an extended one by the great English  composer, Edward Elgar (1857-1934). “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” is the introduction to his oratorio, The Apostles. It sets the beautiful words of the prophet Isaiah, which we hear today, along with the addition Christ makes to them as heard in the gospel reading from Luke. The music seems to connect to the rather mystical words of the text. May it be a blessing to you.

Next week is a bit jam-packed as we experience only a few hours of the fourth week of Advent. On Friday we have our Longest Night service for all those who are grieving losses. Sunday morning, we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent and a few hours later it’s Christmas Eve! Our friend, Rhian Kenny, principal piccolo in the PSO will be there to enhance the music for Christmas Eve along with the Chancel Choir and Adult Bell Choir and timpanist extraordinaire, Jacob Hollo. 

Please pray for us musicians and for Ben as we prepare the way of the Lord in music, liturgy, and word. Come, Lord Jesus!

Stephen Schall

Music Director