Songs Recommended for Advent Worship

The following is a list of songs I like to sing during the Advent Season. Most of the these songs listed are approved by the URCNA, with a few deletions and additions.

Hymn Words By  Tune
Advent of Our God, The Charles Coffin, 1736 St. Thomas, Aaron Williams, 1770
All My Heart This Night Rejoices Paul Gerhardt, 1656 Warum Sollt Ich, 1666
All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord Martin Luther, 1524 Canonbury, 1839
Angels We Have Heard on High Traditional French Carol Gloria
Angels from the Realms of Glory James Montgomery, 1816-25 Regent Square, Henry Smart, 1867
Blessed Be the God of Israel (Benedictus) Luke 1:67-79 (Carl Daw, 1989) Forest Green, English trad. melody
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus Charles Wesley, 1744 Stuttgart, 1715
Comfort, Comfort Ye My People Johannes Olearius, 1671 Thirsting, Louis Bourgeois, 1551
Great and Mighty Wonder, A Germanus of Constantinople (634−734) Es Ist Ein Ros, German, 15th cent.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Charles Wesley, 1739 Mendelssohn, arr. W. H. Cummings, 1850
How Bright Appears the Morning Star Philip Nicolai, 1599 Wie Schon Leuchtet, Nicolai, 1599
Joy to the World! Isaac Watts, 1719 Antioch, Lowell Mason, 1830
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence Liturgy of St. James, 4th cent. Picardy, traditional French
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates! Psalm 24 Truro, 1789
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming German hymn, ca. 1500 Es Ist Ein Ros, German, 15th cent.
My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord (Magnificat) Luke 1:46-55 (Song of Mary) Pentecost, 1868
My Soul Shall Magnify the Lord (Magnificat) Luke 1:46-55 (Song of Mary) Uffingham, Jeremiah Clarke, 1701
O Come, All Ye Faithful Latin hymn, 18th cent., tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1841 Adeste Fideles, in J. F. Wade’s Cantus Diversi, 1751
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel 12th-13th cent. Latin hymn, tr. John M. Neale, 1861 Veni Emmanuel, 13th cent.
Of the Father’s Love Begotten Aurelius Prudentius, 4th cent. Divinum Mysterium, 12th cent.
Savior of the Nations Come Ambrose of Milan, c. 397 Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland, from Geistliche Gesangbüchlein, 1524
Songs of Thankfulness and Praise Christopher Wordsworth, 1862 St. George‘s Windsor, George Elvey, 1858
To Us a Child of Hope is Born John Morrison, 1781 Belief, traditional English melody
What Child is This Traditional English Carol Greensleeves, traditional English melody
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Nahum Tate, 1702 Christmas, G. F. Handel, 1728


Some may object that “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”; and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” were written by Charles Wesley, an Arminian.

I omitted the following for various reasons:
“Once in Royal David’s City,” written by Cecil Frances Alexander, a laywoman; “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopalian minister, also for mystical words; “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” by Edmund H. Sears, a Unitarian minister; “Away in a Manger” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” for not being suitable for worship services.

But the most prominent omission is “Silent Night, Holy Night,” written by Joseph Mohr, a Roman Catholic priest, in 1818.

Although these hymns are based on God’s Word, they are not metrical versions of God’s inspired Word. The Advent Canticles and “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates (Psalm 24) are the only inspired songs. My prayer is that more metrical versions of God’s inspired Word on the birth of of our Savior will be composed.

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