Maybe this happens every year, but this year I’ve come across numerous social media posts arguing about whether it is too early to decorate for Christmas, whether we as Catholics should listen to Christmas music during Advent, and all the nuances that go along with attempting to authenticaly celebrate Christmas in a society that has turned the glorious birth of Jesus into a consumeristic day of overabundance.
Now, that being said, the Vatican did raise their Christmas tree last week, so you better believe my (fake, undecorated) tree went up last week as well. We don’t decorate until Advent, as that’s one of the activities on my kid’s Advent calendar, but when it comes to Christmas music, we have a strict no Christmas music until Christmas Eve policy.
The beauty of music has the ability to move the soul, and during the preparation of Advent, I don’t want (or need) my soul to be celebrating Christmas while my flesh is still laboring to get there. So I’ve done some research and found a few songs you can add to your Advent playlist.
Gabriel’s Message by Matt Maher (The Advent of Christmas)
Calls to mind the journey Our Lady took during the Advent season.
I Wonder as I Wonder by Audrey Assad (Inheritance)
Just trust me on this one. The production is great and the background instrumentation choice is fascinating; not what you’d expect, yet it works so well. Also, great for contemplation.
A traditional Advent Hymn using the opening words of Isaiah 45:8 – “Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum” – Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just.
Hope for Everyone by Matt Maher (The Advent of Christmas)
This might be on repeat all Advent for me. Good message and a simple reminder that we “are waiting on the promise”. The use of the choir in the background harkens to the universal church for me; I’m not alone in my waiting.
Ave Maria as performed by Andrea Bocelli
Tell me a season when this song isn’t fitting?
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Pentatonix (That’s Christmas to Me)
You could claim this isn’t a Christmas or Advent song, but since there are no lyrics, I think it can be played all winter season long.
O Come O Come Emmanuel by Matt Maher (The Advent of Christmas)
Arguably my favorite Advent song – specifically this version – so I had to save it for the end. The building intensity of the song beautifully encapsulates the building anticipation we feel during the season of Advent. Here’s an acapella version that is also very good and also worth the add to your playlist. Also, the whole The Advent of Christmas album is phenomenal, so it should be downloaded in its entirety.