Author Topic: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas  (Read 1545 times)

RogerMartim

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Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« on: December 02, 2012, 10:53:44 PM »
I love the Advent season. The hymnody of the four weeks cannot be surpassed; the lessons and Gospel texts are rich in meaning.

Yet today I attended church and the trees were up with its baubles and the nativity scene was in the church yard. Thank goodness the paraments were kind of a bluish-purple in color.

It gets worse.

The entire Liturgy of the Word was scratched even though its layout was in the bulletin. The service started with a two-three minute homily. Then there was the procession of a massed choir to the front and the service became a concert of some 35-40 minutes - a Christmas cantata (mind you, not of the Bach caliber). The music and its texts were so insipid. I can't remember the full name of the cantata now but it had the words 'a-comin' in its title. It might be a fun cantata for a Sunday School to perform in its due time which would be anytime after the celebration of the Fourth Sunday in Advent.

Normally there is always an applause and I expected it at the end of the performance this morning but there was none. I think that's how bad it was.

Why don't pastors take the bull by the horn and whip the worship and music committee into line? Or do the pastors blur the line between the two seasons?

Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we now celebrate 35-36 days of Christmas until January 6 -- not far behind the shopping centers.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 11:12:20 PM »
Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we now celebrate 35-36 days of Christmas until January 6 -- not far behind the shopping centers.

http://www.zionshaffers.com/advent1.jpg

Not all of us, Roger.

Organ prelude "Once He Came in Blessing"
Brief Order of Confession and Forgiveness
Hymn "The Lord Shall Come and Not be Slow"
The Litany (from LBW Evening Prayer)
Prayer of the Day
Lessons from LBW Lectionary with "Lo He Comes" as Gradual Hymn
Anthem "The King Shall Come"
"Let All Mortal Flesh" as Offering Hymn
Eucharistic liturgy sung to tune of Advent Hymns''

Christmastide will be a stark contrast: 
No Brief Order
No Kyrie
Carols substituting for Hymns at every possible place, including a setting of the Liturgy.
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 11:21:09 PM »
We (and any parishioners under my care) are most strict with Advent and we do not rush Christmas.
I do say every year that we celebrate two, maybe three seasons. We enjoy the "Holiday" stuff, the TV specials, the malls, the parties, the attendant jollification of life that is "secular Christmas."
We observe Advent in church and in personal piety. Wreaths at home, Advent carols in church, etc.
And we celebrate the Birth of Our Lord, the Incarnation, beginning at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24; again at 10 p.m. on Dec. 24; at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 25, and every day thereafter until January 5.
I see no gain in "fighting" against "secular Christmas." Let reindeer noses glow, snowmen dance, chestnuts roast, and wassail warm chilled throats. I just tell people to observe "our" Christmas, too. And I make sure that the liturgies in the church do that. 
 

George Erdner

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2012, 11:37:08 PM »
I love the Advent season. The hymnody of the four weeks cannot be surpassed; the lessons and Gospel texts are rich in meaning.

Yet today I attended church and the trees were up with its baubles and the nativity scene was in the church yard. Thank goodness the paraments were kind of a bluish-purple in color.

It gets worse.

The entire Liturgy of the Word was scratched even though its layout was in the bulletin. The service started with a two-three minute homily. Then there was the procession of a massed choir to the front and the service became a concert of some 35-40 minutes - a Christmas cantata (mind you, not of the Bach caliber). The music and its texts were so insipid. I can't remember the full name of the cantata now but it had the words 'a-comin' in its title. It might be a fun cantata for a Sunday School to perform in its due time which would be anytime after the celebration of the Fourth Sunday in Advent.

Normally there is always an applause and I expected it at the end of the performance this morning but there was none. I think that's how bad it was.

Why don't pastors take the bull by the horn and whip the worship and music committee into line? Or do the pastors blur the line between the two seasons?

Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we now celebrate 35-36 days of Christmas until January 6 -- not far behind the shopping centers.


I share your opinion of annual "Christmas Cantatas".

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 11:50:17 PM »
I share your opinion of annual "Christmas Cantatas".

Quite.

The Anthem cited in my previous post was actually the "finale" from what might be the only true "Advent Cantata" ever published, The King Shall Come by Gilbert Martin.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Weedon

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 08:59:58 AM »
My home congregation yesterday had a splendid Advent liturgy. The liturgy was used in its entirety (Gloria omitted, of course). We sang: "Lift Up Your Heads," "Savior of the Nations," "O Bride of Christ, Rejoice!," "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?," Jesus Comes to Day with Healing." The homily was upon the Gospel, Matthew 21, Triumphant Entry and was dripping in both law and (predominating) Gospel. True that the Christmas decorations are already up, but the paraments and vestments were blue and we lighted our first candle at the Advent wreath (well, the second service did; at the first service the acolytes forgot!). The choir sang Introit and Gradual and an anthem: "Come, Immanuel." P.S. I LOVE singing in the choir! Best part about no longer serving in pulpit and altar!

D. Engebretson

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 09:07:20 AM »
I was out of town for this past Sunday, but I can say that the church I attended used Divine Service 4 and used many of the fine Advent hymns already mentioned.  Trees and decorations were already in place, however.  At my own congregation it was pure Advent.  No trees or decorations yet.  They will put them up, but not for a week or more.  Blue banners, blue paraments, Advent hymns throughout. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

FrPeters

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 09:28:40 AM »
Blue and mostly the same hymns... with addition of Carl Schalk's Advent Wreath hymn, one stanza sung as the Advent wreath was lit...  Tree and Decorations in a week....
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 01:33:35 PM »
We had no Christmas decorations on 1 Advent. Slowly decorations will be added as we prepare for Christmas. The tree (with no decorations) will be up in a couple weeks. Decorations and lights will be added for the Christmas services.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

mariemeyer

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 09:47:46 AM »
For pastors still in the parish ... and grandparents who pray their children and grandchildren have a blessed Advent:

I suggest Advent resources available from Creative Communications for the Parish.  (1564 Fencorp Drive, Fenton, MO 63026 - www creativecommunications.com)

When Bill was in the parish Creative Communication devotional books written for families with small children, for teens and for adults were ordered and made available for members of the congregation.  Initially some in the congregation questioned the cost. After the first year no one questioned the value how the devotional material assisted families in keeping Advent a time of preparation for Christmas.

Check it out.  The Lenten resources are also valuable for family devotions, particularly for families with children.

Marie Meyer

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 09:55:11 AM »
I recommend CPH's Come Lord Jesus: Daily Devotions For Advent.

I think it is excellent!

Mike

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 12:13:20 PM »
This year our congregation is using the Advent devotions, available at no cost, from Higher Things:

http://higherthings.org/5177

Formats:
Printable Booklet (PDF)
"In Line" PDF
Nook and other readers (ePub format)
Kindle
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 12:15:24 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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racin_jason

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 01:24:44 PM »
I love the Advent season. The hymnody of the four weeks cannot be surpassed; the lessons and Gospel texts are rich in meaning.


.....Why don't pastors take the bull by the horn and whip the worship and music committee into line? Or do the pastors blur the line between the two seasons?

Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we now celebrate 35-36 days of Christmas until January 6 -- not far behind the shopping centers.

A timely assertion, being caught between these two worlds of church culture and the secular setting and doing neither particularly well.

There is much to like about Advent, for me the hymns and the wreath in particular.

What I don't like about Advent is having two sundays of John the Baptist hollering. From a lectionary point of view it works, but I pity those souls who decide they'll check out the local Lutheran church and find the focus to be in a substantially different place than what they are likely expecting.

Our preaching reflects this tension in the obligatory "preparation" sermon in advent, where we intone "just as we prepare for Christmas we prepare our hearts through repentance". Christmas is being drawn into the discussion because it's relevant to what is going on in our lives the rest of the week. I wonder if we could have an advent without the word "Christmas" being uttered...or at least until 4th sunday of advent.

I currently serve a church that also has an annual advent/christmas cantata. It's a tradition that predates me, and after some experiments with different dates times we've returned to the second Sunday in advent.  I too find it disruptive to the season of Advent, and causes tension with hymn selection.

Adding some Christmas songs in Advent 3 or 4, ramping up to Christmas would be my preference, but when all the old Christmas favorites have been sung on Advent 2, it leaves the next two weeks in this wish-wash of Advent and Christmas.

By the time we get to Christmas eve, well, it's a bit of a let down. I'm considering moving the cantata to the 3rd week in advent, that'd be a step in the right direction for us. 
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Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 01:30:54 PM »
Our preaching reflects this tension in the obligatory "preparation" sermon in advent, where we intone "just as we prepare for Christmas we prepare our hearts through repentance". Christmas is being drawn into the discussion because it's relevant to what is going on in our lives the rest of the week. I wonder if we could have an advent without the word "Christmas" being uttered...or at least until 4th sunday of advent.

Isn't Christmas what we are preparing for though?  Is it not why we remember our sinfulness in penitence as we look in hope towards Christ's incarnation?

I'd always heard it was the small cycle which preceded the larger cycle of preparation and penitence during Lent while looking in hope towards Easter.

 I wonder if we could have a Lenten season without the word "Easter" being uttered...or at least until Holy Week.  I wonder if we would want to do so.

Mike

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Re: Advent in a Fight for Its Life against Christmas
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 03:17:03 PM »
I wonder if we could have a Lenten season without the word "Easter" being uttered...or at least until Holy Week.  I wonder if we would want to do so.

Yes, I think we could. And that would be okay with me.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs