I wasn’t intending to do an Advent calendar this year but some folk have been asking – including a few from beyond the confines of the Church – so for them I offer these simple reflections on four Advent songs. Yes – you read that right. Just four songs that have inspired, encouraged, stimulated and brought hope and future to countless numbers of people … those with faith, those seeking faith, those doubting faith and those who are on the verge of giving up faith. And, to be honest, some of us flow through that cycle quite often.
All these traditional songs share a sense of hope and expectation. A deep longing that yearns for things to be better, to be put right. These are texts and tunes that have stood the test of time and have resonated with human beings in every generation. And as we listen to the way composers have set these words to different tunes and musical styles we hear the timeless message of Advent hope afresh. The musical style itself can bring fresh light to familiar words and, in that process, divine love and the ‘truth sent from above’ can reach into our very souls.