I mentioned in one of my Instagram posts this weekend that I created an Advent playlist, and a reader asked me if I would share it here. Yes, you heard that right: Advent music. As in, not-quite-yet-bet-getting-ready-for Christmas music. In my book, these are very different things. Christmas music is all about praise: joy-to-the-world and all that jazz. Advent is about reflection, preparation, longing. It’s a very different feel.
Thing is, while any of us can easily rattle off a list of our favorite Christmas carols, most of us have trouble naming more than one Advent hymn (“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” amiright?).
Music is such a powerful medium for me, especially as it relates to my spiritual life. I don’t really consider myself a musician, though I do sing and play the piano. I’m definitely not an expert in musicology; if you asked me the difference between a tritone and a baritone, I could barely give you an answer. But, I do know what I like: I like music whose message and mood suit the moment.
That’s what I’ve attempted to do with this playlist. Most of the songs are contemplative. Many express a yearning for our Savior. Some reflect on the Blessed Mother and the Annunciation; one is a feast day song for St. Lucia. There are contemporary worship songs, as well as classic hymns. I’ve included a couple of secular pieces that I feel still evoke that thrilling anticipation that so exemplifies Advent. There’s even a Beatles’ number.
I tried to be eclectic. Oh, who am I kidding? I am eclectic. My hope is that there will be a little something here for everyone.
I’ve included the artists/albums I used. Many of these songs are covered by multiple artists, so if you don’t like the versions I’ve listed but the song still speaks to you, hunt around a bit until you find one that makes your heart sing. Hit up your favorite online music source, and pick and choose to your heart’s content! As for me? I’ll be pulling my Christmas carols out soon, but for now, I am loving these songs to keep my heart focused + full this Advent season.
An Advent Playlist
“Awake, O Sleeper” Ike Ndolo We Are Beggars
“Gabriel’s Message” Jars of Clay – Christmas Songs
“Christmas is Coming” Harry Belafonte To Wish You a Merry Christmas
“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” Marcy Priest Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
“Veni Redemptor Gentium” Gregorian Chant – Gregorian Chant
“Love Divine All Loves Excelling” Sound of Worship – The Greatest Ever Hymns
“This Is Not the End” Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth
“Song of Hope (Acoustic)” Robbie Seay Band – December Vol. 2: Songs of Advent
“Hosanna (Praise is Rising)” Paul Baloche – The Writer’s Collection
“O Tannenbaum” Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song
“The Earth Stood Still” Future of Forestry Advent Christmas
“Mary, Did You Know?” Pentatonix That’s Christmas to Me
“White Christmas” Bing Crosby White Christmas
“Let It Be” The Beatles Let It Be (Remastered)
“Prepare the Way” Jared Anderson – Live From My Church
“Even So Come – Radio Version” Passion – Even So Come
“Love Comes Down” Matt Maher – Alive Again
“Restless” Audrey Assad – Inheritance
“Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” Amy Grant – The Christmas Collection
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” Bing Crosby – White Christmas
“Santa Lucia” Anne Sofie von Otter – Christmas Music 100 Hits
“O Christmas Tree” Andre Rieu – Christmas Music 100 Hits
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” Matt Maher – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel