Singing Together for the Advent of our Lord

Many liturgical Christians find that the beginning of the church year — Advent — is their favorite time of the year. I think this is particularly true for those who love Anglican hymnody, as I do. Christmas and Easter get all the attention — with the embarrassment of riches that is too much to fit into one feast day — but then you blink and it’s over. Lent is not known for its hymnody — and those hymns it has are not exactly the stirring fun hymns you whistle on the way out to the church parking lot.

But Advent! It’s a big deal for Anglicans, as it was both in the medieval Western church and all liturgical Christians since. For congregational singing, we have a good supply of Advent hymns, even if it’s a fraction of that available for Christmas.[1] So these four weeks give us a unique repertoire of sacred hymnody, distinct from what we sing for the twelve days of Christmas.

Sadly, Not Singin’ My Song

I have 20 songs in my iTunes playlist for Advent. As with most of my choral music, these are largely drawn from the great choirs of England. The playlist includes both King’s and Trinity College choirs in Cambridge, as well as the historic cathedrals of Salisbury and Wells.[2]

Do these choirs sing hymns found in my favorite hymnal — or any other American hymnal? Often the answer is no.

For example, the hymn that I (and others) have sung over past decades for the first hymn of the first service of Advent is Charles Wesley’s “Come, thou long expected Jesus” — the first hymn in Hymnal 1940 and Book of Common Praise 2017 and Hymn 66 in Hymnal 1982.[3] All three US hymnals use only one tune: Stuttgart — as did the 1892 and 1916 PECUSA hymnals.

Using the New English Hymnal, our English cousins today sing the same hymn for Advent, but to a completely different tune: Cross of Jesus, by their beloved Victorian composer John Stainer (1840-1901). So while it’s fun to listen to the Wells Cathedral Choir sing Wesley’s text, they’re not singing our song.[4] For the other hymns, many have important differences in the translation, since only the three Wesley hymns (and one by Doddridge) were originally written in English.

Upon further investigation, the trans-Atlantic overlap of text and tunes is surprisingly small. I compared these three US Anglican hymnals[5] with three major Church of England hymnals of the 20th century: The English Hymnal of 1906, with Percy Dearmer editing the text and Ralph Vaughan Williams the tunes.[6] Songs of Praise (Enlarged Edition) of 1933, compiled by Dearmer, Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw,[7] and The New English Hymnal (1986), which is an committee-produced update of TEH that (in characteristic English fashion) is more restrained than similar efforts with Hymnal 1982.

To provide a non-Anglican perspective, I researched the Lutherans who have a parallel liturgical hymnody, and recorded performances from a few good choirs such as the St. Olaf Choir; thus, I also examined four U.S. Lutheran hymnals from 1941, 1978, 2006 and 2006.[8] For hymn and author information, I consulted printed hymnal companions for Hymnal 1940 and the Lutheran Book of Worship, as well as two online resources, Hymnary and the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.[9]

What did I find? The overlap within Anglican hymnals yields 11 hymns, written between the 4th and 18th centuries. Only seven hymn pairs appeared with the same tune in multiple Anglican hymnals on both continents, while four had partial overlap — with either limited sharing of tunes, or employing completely different tunes between our two countries. In chronological order, below are the two lists.[10]

Hymnals Title Original Date Tune Usage
492† O come, O come Emmanuel 6th-9th-century Veni Emmanuel All
122 Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding 5th-10th-century Merton All
101 Creator of the stars of night 9th-century Conditor alme Siderum All but 1 CoE
212 Wake, awake, for night is flying Phillip Nicolai, 1599 Sleepers, Wake All but 1 CoE
795 Hark the glad sound! the Savior comes Philip Doddridge, 1735 Bristol All but 1 US
Richmond aka


1 CoE, 2 US
All Lutherans
222 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry Charles Coffin, 1736 Winchester New All
738 Lo, he comes with clouds descending Charles Wesley, 1758 Helmsley All but 1 Lutheran
St. Thomas All US

10 Come, thou Redeemer of the earth Ambrose, 340 Veni Redeptor Gentium 1 CoE
Puer Nobis Nascitur 2 CoE
49 Savior of the nations, come Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland 2 US, all Lutheran
62 The advent of our God (King) Charles Coffin, 1736 St. Thomas All CoE, 1 US, 2 Lutheran
462 Christ whose glory fills the skies Charles Wesley, 1740 Ratsibon All US
Ministres de l’Éternel 2 CoE
723 Come, thou long-expected Jesus Charles Wesley, 1744 Stuttgart All US
Cross of Jesus 1 CoE

† Hymnals publishing the hymn text, as reported by Hymnary

Theologians such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Merton talk about three Advents: a first Advent that anticipates Christ’s first coming, a third Advent that anticipates his Second Coming, and a second Advent standing between these “by which Christ is present in our souls now [and that] depends on our personal recognition of … the passage of Christ through our world, through our own lives.”[11] Five hymns seem to be preparing the congregation for baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant, while another five I would classify as eschatological, and one seems to touch all three.

Hymns Ancient & Medieval

Three of the hymns were based on pre-Reformation (i.e. ancient or medieval) Latin texts. Not surprisingly, two of these were translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866), the great hymn translator of the 19th-century English choral revival.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel is the least controversial of all Advent hymns, directly or indirectly based on the original translation published by Neale in his two-volume Hymnal Noted (1851-1856).

Neale created a hymn out of the seven great Latin antiphons (“Great Os”) of the end of Advent, which were introduced into the Roman liturgy before the ninth century and used throughout medieval England prior to the Reformation. The message of the antiphon and the hymn is clearly about the first Advent, of the Christ born to the line of Jesse and David to ransom captive Israel.

Although Hymnal Noted was rarely adopted by local congregations, Neale’s text was popularized from the very first 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, the seminal Anglican hymnal that has since sold more than 150 million copies worldwide in various editions.[12] Hymns A&M picked up his structure and tune, but applied the first round of many changes to the text. Over the next 160 years, others have tweaked (or rewritten) the translation, with some copying his structure without acknowledgment.

Neale’s is perhaps the most recognizable of all Anglican hymns for Advent: for example, it has been sung as the entrance hymn every year from 2004-2022 at the Advent Lessons & Carols service performed by St. John’s College, Cambridge.[13] Hymnary reports it is reprinted in nearly 500 hymnals, and it retains a lasting impact today across a wide range of American denominations.[14]

Neale’s hymn in Hymnal Noted puts Dec 23 antiphon first followed by those of Dec 17-22. The same structure of verses is used by the US Anglican hymnals — all starting from the H40 modification to the Hymns A&M translation[15] — while H82 helpfully shows these dates for the verses and repeats the first verse.

Meanwhile, the first two CoE hymnals have only five verses while NEH has all seven. All use the Neale structure and a version of the 1906 T.A. Lacey translation that debuted in TEH, one where captive Israel is redeemed rather than ransomed, the Wisdom no longer orderest all things mightily, the Rod of Jesse’s stem has become a root, and the Dayspring no longer cheers us by drawing nigh.

The tune Veni Emmanuel was created by Thomas Helmore, music editor of Hymnal Noted, who adapted a 15th-century French hymn tune but added the hymn’s signature refrain.[16] This tune is used by all six Anglican and four Lutheran hymnals, and the majority of hymnals reported by Hymnary. For the third phrase (e.g., “morns in lonely exile here”), H40 and B17 have an anomalous rhythm when they give the word “exile” three notes of equal weight, while Hymnal Noted and Hymns A&M (like the Lutheran and remaining Anglican hymnals) create a syncopation by doubling the duration of the first note.

Hark a Thrilling Voice is Sounding translates the eschatological text Vox clara ecce intonat. The text has sometimes been attributed to St. Ambrose (339-397), but one reference said “most sources consider it to be anonymous, and date it variously from the fifth to tenth-century.”[17] It was translated and published in 1849[18] by Edward Caswall, an Anglican priest for eight years until in 1847, he swam the Tiber two years after John Henry Newman, and worked for Newman for much of his career as a Roman priest. The tune Merton was written by William Henry Monk, the music editor of Hymns A&M.

Creator of the Stars of Night is taken from a medieval office hymn Condite alme siderum dating to the 9th century. The various hymnals adapt a version of the text from Hymnal Noted, a text that successively references the first, second and third advents. The tune is Conditor Alme, “the traditional plainsong melody always associated with the text”[19] from a version that Neale attributes to the Salisbury (i.e. Sarum) hymnal. The text (with this tune) is found in five of the six Anglican hymnals. The text appears to be too Catholic for SOPEE, and was only added by the Lutherans in their two hymnals of this century.

The Early Protestant Hymn

Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying is by German Lutheran pastor and hymnwriter Philip Nicolai (1566-1608), published in 1599 after 1300 of his parishioners died from an unspecified epidemic. Nicolai’s contemplation of his own mortality and final judgment combines the parable of the wise virgins with images from the book of Revelation. Known by Lutherans as the “King of Chorales,” Nicolai’s text and tune provided the basis for J.S. Bach’s popular cantata “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (BWV 140).

Not surprisingly, both text and tune (Wachet Auf) are found in all four Lutheran hymnals. However, three of the four catalog it under End Times (or Judgment), confirming my textual reading of this as a hymn for Christ’s third advent. All Anglican hymnals except SOPEE include it, and as an Advent hymn.

All seven American hymnals credit their translation (“Wake, awake, for night is flying”) to Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), but both CoE hymnals use F.C. Burkitt’s (1864-1935) translation (written for TEH) that begins “Wake, O wake! with tidings thrilling.”

18th Century Hymnwriters

Three hymns were written in the 18th century, by a Nonconformist minister, a Catholic professor and the Anglican priest whose elder brother started Methodism.

Hark the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes is a hymn that I have rarely sung, so I was surprised to see that Hymnary lists as the most popular of all 11 Advent hymns, found in nearly 800 hymnals. It was written by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751). Written to support his Congregationalist sermons, his hymns were largely unknown during his lifetime: this was written in 1735 but not published until 1754.[20] Given the centuries of antipathy between the Nonconformists and the official Church of England, it is ironic that it was first introduced to English Anglicans by the very Anglo-Catholic 1861 Hymns A&M.

The tune used in 1861 (Bristol) is the one shared by five of the six Anglican hymnals I studied. It was written by Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1585-c.1635), a former St. Paul’s Cathedral choirboy who in 1621 published a sung psalter — one where this and all the other tunes were named after “cathedrals and choral foundations in England and Wales.”[21]

The four Lutheran hymnals use the tune Chesterfield by Thomas Hawels (1734-1820), a CoE rector and chaplain who was once removed from an Oxford curacy “because of his Methodist leanings.”[22] H82 includes this as a second tune, while BCP17 uses it to replace Bristol; both hymnals use the alternate name for the tune, Richmond.

On Jordan’s Bank is a translation of a first Advent text about John the Baptist, Jordanis oras praevia. The Latin was written by Charles Coffin, a French college professor and Latin poet, who wrote various hymns for the liturgical year. It was published in Hymni Sacri Auctore Carolo Coffin, a 1736 compilation of his work.[23] As with “the Advent of our God,” Coffin’s Latin was translated a century later by Rev. John Chandler, a parish vicar and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. A number of Chandler’s translations (often altered) were included in the 1861 and later editions of Hymns A&M.

The tune used in both countries is Winchester New, which Hymnary says accounts for a majority of the occurrences of this hymn. This 1690 German tune came to England in 1742, and is used for two other texts in H40 and BCP17 (one other for H82).

Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending — one of thousands written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) — offers vivid eschatological imagery for how “Christ the Lord returns to reign.” It is found in all CoE and US Anglican hymnals, and the three latest Lutheran ones.

The 1758 text was soon paired by John Wesley with the tune Helmsley;[24] all nine hymnals include this tune, which I originally found difficult to sing because of the long flowing verses that meander up and down a wide vocal wide range (an octave and a third). This is the one performed by English choirs, including the closing hymn of the most recent ’19 Advent Lessons & Carols services at St. John’s Cambridge.[25]

The tune I learned as a child was the more conventional St. Thomas, the one originally used for this text in Hymns A&M, the only tune in The Hymnal (1916) and the second tune provided by the subsequent three US Anglican hymnals. As an adult, I still prefer singing it for its 18th-century four-part harmony. However, this month my daughter pointed out that the H40 organ accompaniment for the “unison” tune Helmsley is used for singing harmony at her church. Upon investigation, I saw that this H40 harmony matches the harmony of the CoE hymnals and the subsequent BCP17; characteristically, H82 only prints the melody.

Ambrosian Discord

Beyond these seven consensus hymns, four other hymns appear often enough to warrant mention. One is both a great (missed) opportunity and the messiest story of all.

Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth starts with a 4th-century text (Veni, Redemptor gentium) actually written by St. Ambrose that seems to be the oldest Advent hymn in widespread use. As the Lutheran hymnal companion writes:

According to Julian [in A Dictionary of Hymnology], this hymn is one of twelve definitely ascribed to Ambrose, as it is clearly attributed to him by Augustine in 372, Pope Celestine in 403, and other early writers. It is found in several eighth- and ninth-century manuscripts.[26]

With its focus on the first Advent, it was translated by Neale in (where else?) Hymnal Noted. Neale’s first two verses are:

Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth,

Come, testify Thy Virgin-birth:

All lands admire — all times applaud;

Such is the birth that fits a God.

Begotten of no human will,

But of the Spirit, mystic still,

The Word of God, in flesh array’d,

The promised fruit to man display’d.

while in The English Hymnal (and later), it is:

Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,

and manifest thy virgin-birth:

let every age adoring fall;

such birth befits the God of all.

Begotten of no human will,

but of the Spirit, thou art still

the Word of God, in flesh arrayed,

the Saviour, now to us displayed.

TEH uses the Hymnal Noted tune as its first tune, while its second tune is Puer Nobis, a joyous folk melody adapted by Praetorius. The combination of this text and the latter tune is also found in NEH and (according to Hymnary) and six other British hymnals.[27] Puer Nobis will be familiar to many, as it is sung by Anglicans to the text “That Easter day with joy was bright,” Neale’s translation of a 4th or 5th-century text sometimes attributed to Ambrose.[28] The THE harmonization of the Advent text is the same as that of the Easter tune in the US hymnals.

Meanwhile, in 1523 Martin Luther himself translated Ambrose’s Latin into German as “Nunn komm, der Heiden Heiland” with an original tune now known by the same name. Thus, the American Lutherans all sing Luther’s original 1524 tune to a translation of Luther’s text entitled Savior of the Nations, Come. It is found in 49 hymnals, all but one using Luther’s tune — including all four Lutheran hymnals and the two latest US Anglican hymnals. The first two verses in the LCMS hymnals are:

Savior of the nations, come,

Virgin’s son, make here Thy home!

Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,

That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood

By the Spirit of our God,

Was the Word of God made flesh–

Woman’s Offspring, pure and fresh.

The first verse is also the same in H82, BCP17, and the 2006 ECLA hymnal.

Beyond discord over text and tunes, it’s also difficult to harmonize the seasonal designations. In Hymnal Noted, Neale lists it as an “Evening Hymn from Christmas Eve to Epiphany from the Salisbury Hymnal,” so both NEH and the 1941 Lutheran hymnal list it under the Christmas season. Meanwhile, TEH has it as one of three Christmas Eve hymns, while the US Anglican hymnals and remaining Lutheran hymnals count it for Advent. The hymn has not been sung in Cambridge at either the Advent or Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols services this century,[29] but in my iTunes playlist, one English choir is singing Puer Nobis on an Advent album and the other on a Christmas one.

Finally, Luther’s tune begins and ends on G-minor, suggesting a penitential season (i.e., the second or third Advent), while the CoE tune is in D-major for the more joyous first Advent. For my dream of someday producing a Hymnal 1940 supplement, the CoE text and tune are what I would choose for content, musicality, and familiarity — using the 1906 harmony and improvements to Neale’s original texts that are in the public domain.[30]

Other Runners Up

The Advent of Our God. As with the better-known “On Jordan’s Bank,” it was published by Charles Coffin in 1736 and translated by Chandler in 1837. With the tune St. Thomas, this eschatological text appears in all CoE hymnals but not the three 20th-century PECUSA hymnals. Three of the Lutheran hymnals and BCP17 use a version of the text that begins “The Advent of Our King.” For tunes, the LCMS books in 1941 and 2006 (and BCP17) use St. Thomas — the American tune for “Lo, He Comes.” Meanwhile, the ELCA in 1978 chose Franconia (the original tune in Hymns A&M and an alternate tune in TEH and NEH), but dropped the hymn entirely in its 2006 hymnal.

Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies was published by Charles Wesley in 1740. The US Anglicans all have it set to Ratsibon, a 19th-century German tune; the two older CoE hymnals pair it with the 16th-century Ministres de l’Éternel. The CoE hymnals and H40 treat it as a “morning hymn,” while the later US Anglicans classify this eschatological text under Advent.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, a text for first Advent was published by Wesley in 1744. As noted earlier, the US Anglicans in 1892, 1916, 1940, 1982, and 2017 all pair this text with Stuttgart, the most popular tune for this text on Hymnary and in my playlist (sung by Episcopalians, British and Canadian Methodists). The only CoE hymnal with the text (NEH) includes the Stainer’s Cross of Jesus (chosen by the Salisbury and Wells choirmasters) — as well as Halton Holgate which has two instrumental but no vocal performances on YouTube. Meanwhile, the three later Lutheran hymnals pair the text with Jefferson from Southern Harmony. If that’s not confusing enough, a quick trip to my bookcase to scan the two most recent Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian hymnals[31] shows that all three denominations pair the hymn with Hyfrydol — the second most popular tune on Hymnary — but the Presbyterians also include the Episcopalian Stuttgart in both hymnals.


By both researching this article and listening to my playlist while writing it, I confirmed my fears. In more than half the cases, if I listen to the predominant English recordings, I will lose my tune, text, or both. English choirs singing Veni Emmanuel from the New English Hymnal promise a coming savior who will “redeem captive Israel” rather than “ransom” it, the phrase I’ve sung for decades since my choirboy days.

If I give up the English recordings, I give up the wonderful descants by the English choral conductors — and more importantly, the high performance standards created by Kings College Cambridge (later emulated by others) for the past 150 years.[32]

Meanwhile, even if the American choirs match the text and tunes that I know, it’s hard to find a decent recording. For example, one oft-recorded choir would make my daughter’s sixth-grade choral conductor cringe, with sopranos that are excessively bright and don’t blend.

After finishing my analysis, I went back to the First Things Advent playlist that prompted me to research this in the first place.[33] I would assume these traditional Catholics would know the difference between Advent and Christmas music. Still, it includes:

  • “Savior of the Nations” by an Austin LCMS parish, followed by three arrangements of Bach pieces based on Nicolai’s Wachet Auf
  • “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (Veni Emmanuel) by a pop a capella group
  • “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” sung by the Lutheran St. Olaf Choir to the Baptist favorite Hyfrydol
  • “Hark a Thrilling Voice is Sounding” (Merton) by an NYC Catholic choir

plus at least 11 Christmas songs or carols, including performances by the Jackson Five, Bing Crosby, and Kate Smith.

On the brighter side, I now have a full canon of Advent hymns. From it, I have a list of a few more purchases I need to cover the full breadth of Advent hymnody for the present season — while anticipating future Advent seasons to come.


  1. For example, in The Hymnal (1940) hereafter Hymnal 1940 — there are 11 Advent and 34 Christmas unique texts, while for The Hymnal 1982, it’s 20 and 35 respectively.
  2. Sadly, it also includes one song each from a London CoE church that was deconsecrated in 1974, and a Canadian church whose choir has not met since the earliest days of Covidtide.
  3. J. West, “Beginning at the beginning,” Anglican Music weblog, November 30, 2008,
  4. For Salisbury Cathedral, there’s the additional problem that their performance is ponderous bordering on sluggish, a common problem among choral conductors.
  5. H40 and H82 are official hymnals of The Episcopal Church (PECUSA back in 1940) while BCP17 is from the Reformed Episcopal Church, a jurisdiction within the ACNA. For a summary of these three hymnals, see Joel W. West, “Hymnal Choices for North American Anglicans,” North American Anglican, June 15, 2020,
  6. TEH is among the most influential Anglican hymnals of the past two centuries, second only to Hymns Ancient & Modern. However, TEH was forbidden as too “Catholic” by some bishops: see John S. Andrews, “A Survey of Current English Hymnals.” Evangelical Quarterly 52 (1980), pp. 149-170.
  7. The 1933 Songs of Praise Enlarged Edition is the sequel to the 1925 Songs of Praise by the same editors. Both emphasized congregational singing of texts and tunes for use in the CoE, and specifically targeted those who though TEH was too “Catholic.”
  8. The hymnals were The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) used by the LCMS and other Lutherans that is similar in vintage and ethos to Hymnal 1940. I also consulted the latest hymnal from the two largest US Lutheran denominations: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) of the ELCA and the Lutheran Service Book (2006) of the LCMS, and a 1978 hymnal (Lutheran Book of Worship) that was originally planned as a joint hymnal between the LCMS and the forerunners to the ELCA until the LCMS dropped out.
  9. Respectively: 1) Joint Commission on the Revision of the Hymnal, The Hymnal 1940 Companion, 3rd ed., New York: Church Pension Fund, 1951; 2) Mary Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1981; 3) and 4)
  10. For space reasons, I gloss over the significant differences between hymnals in both the verse selection and minor edits to specific verses.
  11. Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration: Meditations on the Cycle of Liturgical Feasts, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965, p. 76. See also James Conner, “The Three Advents,” Advent Ethics, Center for Christian Ethics, Waco, Texas: Baylor University, 2010, pp. 26-32,
  12. Andrews, p. 152.
  13. For a compilation of the annual Lessons & Carols music choices for both St. John’s Advent service and its better known cousin — the Christmas Eve service of King’s College Cambridge — see David Sinden’s web page at
  14. Of the 26 hymns from Hymnal Noted adapted by 24 American denominational hymnals of the 20th century, I found that this hymn was reprinted in 20, second only to the Palm Sunday hymn “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” See Joel W. West, “Neale’s Hymnal Noted and its Impact on Twentieth-Century American Hymnody,” The Hymn, 69, 3 (Summer 2018): pp. 14-24.
  15. Hymns Ancient & Modern (1861) uses the Neale translation, but substitutes “O come, O come” for Neale’s “Draw nigh, draw nigh” at the beginning of each verse, and “Shall come to thee” for “Shall be born for thee” in the refrain. The A&M text for verse 1 and refrain are identical to the “new” translation of H40.
  16. West, “Neale’s Hymnal Noted,” pp. 20-21.
  17. Stulken, p. 139.
  18. Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica:containing all the breviary and missal hymns, with others from various sources, London: James Burns, 1849,
  19. Joint Commission, p. 7.
  20. JRW. “Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes.” The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press,!-the-saviour-comes.
  21. David Greer. “Thomas Ravenscroft.” The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press,
  22. Stulken, p. 137.
  23. Christopher Smith. “Charles Coffin.” The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press,
  24. The text/tuning pairing is clearly visible in Hymn 139 of John Wesley, Select Hymns: With Tunes Annext, 3rd ed., Bristol: William Pine, 1770, It is also reported to be included in the 1765 2nd edition, but in both editions the tune was named Olivers; see Joint Commission, pp. 5-6.
  25. Sniden, loc. cit.
  26. Stulken, p. 127.
  27. The Neale translation is used by the American Catholic Hymnal (1913), while private translations are used by the Hymns for the Reformed Church in the United States (1874), as well as the complete Pius X Hymnal (1953), available at
  28. Stulken, p. 247.
  29. Sniden, loc. cit.
  30. As independent confirmation, this same choice was already made in the unofficial 1979 supplement to H40, Cantate Domino. See J. West, “Little-known ancient Advent hymn: Come thou, redeemer of the earth,” Anglican Music weblog, November 28, 2018,
  31. Beyond Lutherans and Anglicans, the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians are the remaining Protestant denominations that at their peak had one million or more US members (West, “Neale’s Hymnal Noted,” p. 18). I examined Baptist Hymnal (2008), Celebrating Grace (2010), The Methodist Hymnal (1966), The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990) and Glory to God (2013).
  32. For how the “traditional” English choral style is actually a late 19th century invention, I highly recommend Timothy Day’s I Saw Eternity the Other Night: King’s College, Cambridge, and an English Singing Style, (London: Penguin, 2018). See my book review Joel W. West, “I Saw Eternity the Other Night,” Journal of Anglican Studies 19, 2 (November 2021), 243-247,
  33. The Editors, “Advent Tunes,” First Things, Dec. 6, 2022,


Joel W. West

Joel is director of Mission Communities for the Diocese of the Holy Trinity of the Anglican Catholic Church, and also serves on the Continuing Forward task force for mission & evangelism of the G-4 Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. A researcher on Anglican and ecumenical hymn singing and the author of the Anglican Music weblog, he holds an M.A. in Religion from Cranmer Theological House.

'Singing Together for the Advent of our Lord' has 1 comment

  1. December 22, 2022 @ 5:45 pm Fronda Woods

    This is a very interesting and useful article.


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