Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, is a time of anticipation, reflection, and preparation in the Christian liturgical calendar. It is a period marked by spiritual introspection and the joyous expectation of the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the integral elements that enhance the Advent experience is the distinctive music that fills churches during this time.
Advent church music serves as a musical journey, guiding worshippers through the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love—the four traditional themes of Advent. Musicians carefully select hymns and anthems that align with these themes, creating a harmonious backdrop for the congregation's spiritual journey.
The musical repertoire for Advent often includes traditional hymns such as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." These hymns are characterized by their contemplative melodies and rich theological lyrics, fostering a sense of longing and expectation. The minor key tonalities in some compositions evoke a reflective mood, encouraging worshippers to ponder the deeper meanings of the season.
The use of liturgical colors, such as blue and sometimes purple, further enhances the visual and sensory aspects of Advent. These colors, symbolizing penance and anticipation, add a layer of symbolism to the musical experience, reinforcing the themes of the season.
Advent church music serves as a prelude to the grand celebration of Christmas. It prepares the hearts and minds of worshippers, fostering a sense of spiritual readiness for the arrival of Jesus Christ. The careful selection of hymns, choral performances, and liturgical elements collectively contribute to a meaningful and transformative worship experience during this sacred season.
In Christ, Zach Hastings Director of Music
Zach studied organ performance at Iowa State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music in 2016. He has been an organist, bell choir director, and director of worship primarily in the central Iowa area. He continually seeks opportunities to grow as a musician through various conferences and seminars. Zach currently serves on the Central Iowa American Guild of Organists (AGO) Executive Committee, and on the American Guild of Organists Young Organists (AGOYO) National Board.