Songs are very much at the center of our celebrations of Advent and Christmas and have been so for many since childhood, maybe taking part in a school nativity play even if not growing up within a Christian family. The Christmas carols we love are an eclectic mix, some with origins more in the country inn, sung as a rousing chorus, rather than in a Cathedral to a choral setting.
Lots have been handed down from one generation to another and they continue to retain their popularity. How many who sing them in carol services once a year understand the meaning of the words is always a mystery, but the fact that they are sung is good news!
Luke’s Gospel has a series of songs as part of his introduction to the story of Jesus, and these have been handed down to us within our Bibles, and as part of the liturgical life of the Church.
Many will recite (if not sing) the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (maybe also the Benedictus) as part of their regular worship, so the words are familiar. But maybe they haven’t been looked at as often in their actual context, leading up to and just beyond the birth of Jesus.
The studies follow an identical pattern, with a musical theme after opening prayer and contemplation.
Intro (opening discussion)
Accompaniment (a little background to the passage)
Verses (a commentary on the passage)
Chorus (questions for group discussion)
Outro (something to take away and think about)
Week 1: Dec. 1st at St. Barnabas: The Song of Zachariah - Benedictus
Week 2: Dec. 8th at St. Mary's: Mary's Song - The Magnificat
Week 3: Dec. 15th at St. Barnabas: A Song of Angels - Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Week 4: Dec. 22nd at St. Mary's: Simeon’s Song - Nunc Dimittis