Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | June 18, 2007

Why Don’t Episcopal Churches Use Christmas Hymns Until Christmas Eve?

people standing inside church

Photo by Blue Ox Studio on

One of the practices the Episcopal Church has retained from early Church tradition is the liturgical year. That means that the year is divided up into seasons based on events in Scripture surrounding Jesus’ life and ministry. The first season in the liturgical year is Advent.

Advent has traditionally been a season when Christians await the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. Advent also symbolizes how the Church waits for Christ to come again in glory. You might notice that many of the Gospel and New Testament readings have to do with the Second Coming, while the Old Testament readings are from the Prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus. Since Advent is a season of preparation, it is sometimes treated as being more penitential in nature, although not to the same extent as Lent.

Some of the hymns used during Advent include:

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
  • Sleepers, Wake, A Voice Astounds Us (Watchet Auf)
  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
  • On Jordan’s Bank, the Baptist’s Cry.

The season of Advent ends on Christmas Eve with the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Copyright 2001. Written on January 12, 2001. May not be reproduced without the author’s permission.


  1. […] So, I’ve included this short article from my Episcopal FAQ’s site to explain why we celebrate Advent. (Originally titled, “Why Don’t Episcopalians use Christmas Hymns til Christmas Eve?”) […]


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