For my Advent/Christmas update this year, I’m going to try and maintain some degree of separation between these two liturgically distinct seasons.  In a way, the progression of the church’s seasons in December reflects the movement from the “Kyrie” to the Song of Praise in historical liturgy.  We express our need for God – through longing, hope, and expectation – in Advent, and then celebrate the fulfillment of that need, God’s answer to our longing, in the coming of Christ.  You’ll have to decide whether your congregation will stand for not singing any Christmas songs before December 24, but consider holding off enough to maintain the Advent mood.  For this post we’ll stay in Advent, and follow with a Christmas post soon.  
Many songs from your regular rotation will work great for Advent.  Themes of hope, longing, expectation, and waiting are all appropriate.  Keep in mind that Advent is as much about Christ’s coming into our world in a new way now as it is about preparing to celebrate his birth.  During Advent the church cries, “Come, Lord Jesus!” for the renewal of our lives and our world now.

1)    You’ll Come – Brooke Fraser (Hillsong).  This one seems to be overlooked among Brooke’s songs, but not when I’m leading worship!
2)    Let God Arise – Chris Tomlin.  Great for a rocking Advent opener.
3)    Advent Song – Matthew Anderson.  Self-serving here, but it’s one of my most-used worship songs.  It was written as an Advent liturgy.  Listen to it and find chords/music here.
4)    The Fall – Gungor. 
5)    This Is Not The End – Gungor.  These two songs lament our sin and brokenness and proclaim they are not God’s end for us, respectively.  The latter would be a powerful way to close an Advent service.
6)    Build Your Kingdom Here – Rend Collective Experiment.  This is what Advent is all about.  We long for God’s kingdom of peace and wholeness to come, on earth as it is in heaven.
7)    Everlasting God – Brown/Riley.  This popular song is great for Advent with its themes of waiting.
8)    Song of Hope – Robbie Seay Band.  A Christian radio station favorite that expresses the present longing of Advent: “God of heaven come down, heaven come down.”
9)    Hosanna – Paul Baloche.  Hosanna means “Come, save us,” so songs with this language are perfect for Advent.  The same goes for…
10)  Hosanna – Brooke Fraser.  The bridge of this song is gold.
11)  Lord Have Mercy – Merkel, recorded by M.W. Smith.  Lent is the church’s season of repentance, but it’s a part of Advent, too, as we long for our lives to reflect God’s presence.
12)  Desert Song – Fraser.  Having an Advent faith means worshipping in the midst of trial, even when we don’t sense God’s presence in our lives.  This song expresses that hope beautifully.
13)  Glory Be – Sojourn.  A pleasant song from this skilled Kentucky church group with the simple prayer, “O come, come Messiah,” leading to a bridge that poetically expresses what Advent is all about.
14)  Joy to the World – Jaime Barnes (Sojourn).  Did you know Joy to the World is in the Advent section of the Lutheran hymnal (ELW)?  This gorgeous new setting sets a reflective, intimate tone.  You have to hear it. 
15)  O Come O Come Emmanuel – check out arrangements by Future of Forestry (their Advent Christmas EP is on iTunes), Sojourn (also available on iTunes), Lincoln Brewster (Joy to the World album), or write your own. 

Do you have other ideas?  Happy planning!

10/14/2013 5:46pm

I just wanted to give a heads up to people: It looks like on SongSelect (CCLI), Brooke Fraser is, at least sometimes, listed as Brooke Ligertwood. I googled it quick when I was looking up "You'll Come" to make sure I had the right song.

Matthew Anderson
10/14/2013 11:29pm

True. Thanks Ray.

Deacon Joshua
12/03/2013 6:36am

Her married name...

Fraser is her maiden name.

Adam P.
11/21/2013 9:00pm

Good suggestions! It ticks me off when people sing Christmas songs during Advent. :)

12/04/2013 10:47pm

King of heaven. Baloche


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