Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. Taken from Philippians 4:4&5 "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always"), it is an uplifting Sunday in Advent calling for the soon to be realized joyful arrival of Christ. This theme is captured in several of the hymns including Veni Emmanuael (Rejoice! Rejoice!) and joy permeates our worship music. Present also on the Sundayare the declamatory voices of John the Baptist from the Gospel and Mary, the Mother of God from the Canticle response to the Hebrew reading. Two completely different Saints with the same underlying message, the Good News of God is to be announced boldly! John, a vox clamantis in deserto and Mary, an obedient servant. The Bach organ postlude and Communion solo are the voices of Mary and we all give her voice as we sing the Magnificat.
Gustav Holst’s choral setting of the medieval text Lullay my liking makes for a lovely offertory anthem. The same composer who set the epic symphonic work, The Planets, here offers a simple lullaby to Jesus. The Middle English poem is again the voice of Mary and it is as if Holst had recorded her lullaby refrain adding solos to unfold the joyful story of Christ’s birth. To hear more wonderful Christmas music, come to the 8:30 pm Christmas Eve service as the choir will present J. S. Bach’s cantata 151 Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt” (Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes) and works by Handel, Elizabeth Poston accompanied by a chamber orchestra and brass.