I know, I know, Advent has come and gone but if we are going to rank the hymns of each season we need to play a little catch-up. Here is the issue with hymns, there are a lot of them, and there are a lot of good ones. So, the format will be five ranked hymns with a handful of honorable mentions so as not to leave out some that you simply cannot ignore.
Advent is a season of expectant waiting, hopeful longing, and anticipation. It has excitement, yet it also has this exhaustion of those who have waited a long time. Advent is for those who wait. While waiting can be exciting, waiting long can put someone on the edge of hopelessness. I like to sing hymns that reflect this reality, that for many people, they wait in anguish and longing. Here are your Jagged Rankings for Advent Hymns.
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel- LSB 357
As much as I tried to find the courage to put another hymn in this spot, you can’t simply dethrone the undisputed champion of Advent hymns. This hymn has leapt off of the pages in the hymnal and has made its way into popular music, an unprecedented accomplishment for sacred songs. This is the one we all want to sing, every Sunday, it is the song of Advent. I don’t make the rules.
- Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People- LSB 347
Amid all of the hymns that cry out in longing, setting us in minor key stands out this cheerful and wonderful hymn of Isaiah proclaiming comfort to the people of God. This hymn brings about the tension of excitement and longing as God speaks into the midst of our lives through his prophets. This hymn is a stalwart, and it jumps into the fray at the number two spot.
- Savior of the Nations Come- LSB 332
This hymn, once again set to a minor tune makes a great confession of Christ, who he is, and the work he comes to accomplish. “Then stepped forth the Lord of all, from his pure and kingly hall; God of God, yet fully man, His heroic course began.” (vs. 4) I invite you to read all eight verses, and argue that this hymn doesn’t come in at number three.
- The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns- 348
I will admit, I love this hymn because it gives me Lord of the Rings vibes. I can imagine this hymn playing in the background as Gandalf rides from the East to save those fighting in the Battle of Helms Deep. Even more, we too look to Christ’s coming to rescue us by his coming as we struggle throughout our lives battling against sin, death, and the devil. Your King is coming to you at number four.
- Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus- LSB 338
One of my all-time favorite hymns. It’s a hymn of longing for the coming Christ, to release us from the bondage of slavery. The tune is fun to sing, and it exudes what Advent is all about, singing this in a darkened sanctuary by candlelight is what Advent is all about. The only problem with this hymn is its brevity, two verses are simply not enough.
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending- LSB 336
Prepare the Royal Highway- LSB 343
On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry- LSB 344
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates- LSB 341
The Advent of Our King- LSB 331
Hark the Glad Sound- LSB 349