Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, the Hope Sunday, when we think about John the Baptist. I’ve sung John the Baptist songs on this Sunday in the past, but this year we went ahead and had the Hanging of the Greens and a bunch of anthems, with bells and chimes and organ and piano and children singing and stuf. I enjoyed it a lot. I wished, in fact, that I had invited people to church to enjoy it.

Next time I’ll think of it.

One of the songs we sang was “The Lord Emmanuel,” by Bill Burrows and Isaac Thomas. I really like this piece, but I couldn’t find a file for you to listen to or sheet music or anything. Instead, I offer you “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

I don’t usually include this in my little musical Advent calendar, because it is the quintessential Advent carol so I figure everyone already knows it. Maybe not, though.

This has been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Whitney Houston, Boyz 2 Men, the Empire Brass, Robert Shaw, Jessye Norman… I guess it would be faster to list those who haven’t recorded it. Great song.

#1 son has been writing a paper on the meaning of life, while I’ve been reading and reviewing the latest from the author of The Purpose-Driven Life, so I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. When my son and I discuss it, and when we discuss other philosophical issues, it seems as though very often it comes down to a central question: Is there a meaning, or a truth, or a purpose, or a reality about right and wrong, that is there and waiting to be discovered… or do we create our own meaning, truth, purpose, and reality?

The answer to that question surely has to affect how we approach our lives.