Advent Traditions Galore! Hallelujah!
Eric Hauck, Associate Minister of Music - November 21, 2022
It’s happening, folks. Yesterday marks the day I saw my first Christmas Tree being driven home. Strapped to the top of a Nissan Altima, you just know this car is pulling into a house fully decked out with 5-foot-tallcandy canes plunged throughout the yard, faux icicles dangling from the gutters, tinsel strewn around the banisters, and mistletoe over every doorway. Thanksgiving is nearly past, and we the people are hungry for some holiday cheer and all the Christmas Traditions we can cram in those 29 days before the big one!
As a musician, my favorite Advent traditions, of course, revolve around music.
Messiah Sings, where an entire community shows up to a church with their family copy of this Handelian masterpiece to sing through Part I with a full orchestra. Did you know Handel wrote the entire piece in just 24 days?!
Raiding the Opera Department’s costume closet to sing Christmas Carols with 40 others before enjoying a hot cup of wassail at the German professor’s apartment.
“Tubachristmas” where you get to bathe in the warm, dulcet tones of 150+ tubas gently playing Away in a Manger. Either that or getting whiplash from a riveting bass clef rendition of Sleigh Bells.
Singing ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ on the last day of every Fall Semester as a three-part round with the full music department and faculty joining in.
And my most anticipated Christmas tradition that I’ve yet to experience: Goat Caroling. Where a group of carolers walk around the neighborhood with an un-leashed goat, compelled to follow it wherever it wanders. And if the goat shows up at your house, you are obligated to join the party. Think Wassailing, but with muddier shoes and harrier company. (Unrelated Note: if anyone has a goat for rent that wouldn’t mind walking up and down the Light Rail, send me an email).
Of course, all these traditions have a purpose, and that is to point to Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus Christ. Which is why my favorite, and the most poignant tradition of the list, is singing Silent Night on Christmas Eve. We have spent an entire month (and in the case of some dedicated Nissan owners, a bit more than that) preparing the way for Jesus’ coming and with those first words, “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,'' we hear the wait about to end. And though we do this every year, the sound of acapella voices of all ages and ability combined with a warmly glowing candlelit sanctuary is something we only experience once a year. So mark Christmas Eve down in your calendar and start practicing your German (just kidding, English is fine), because Advent is upon us and we are all eager to sing His praises.
P.S. If you have any other wacky Christmas Traditions like Goat Caroling, feel free to send them my way! EHauck@christelca.org