Advent Longing / Christmas Joy: New 100-Song Playlist – Brett McCracken

One thing I love about the Advent season is that it welcomes the whole range of human emotions. Advent fully embraces our agonized longing for hope on the other side of present pain. Our world is rife with sin, sickness, and suffering. We groan—along with all creation (Rom. 8:22)—for deliverance. And even as we know the light of the world already came and our hope is secure, the world’s darkness feels oppressive and life’s burdens feel weighty. So we long for the second coming of Christ. We ache for war to give way to peace, tension to resolve, everything sad to come untrue. Advent welcomes this longing.

But of course, Advent longing isn’t the full story of this season. We also have the unadulterated joy of Christmas: the festive season of all festive seasons, when we rightly celebrate the “good news of great joy” that our Savior is born (Luke 2:10), that the true light, “which gives light to everyone,” came into the world (John 1:9). This means we can be confident that sin and death will not have the last word. Jesus conquered both. We can be honest about the darkness in our world while having buoyant assurance that the light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it (John 1:5).

Advent fully embraces our agonized longing for hope on the other side of present pain.

It’d be wrong to only experience this season with a melancholy spirit of agonized groaning. Because Christ came! Likewise, it would be odd to pretend that all is merry and bright and that sadness has no place in this season. Because Christ is coming again! (But not yet.)

That’s why, for The Gospel Coalition’s Advent playlist this year, I decided to embrace the pull of the two poles of Christmastime emotion: longing and joy. The 100 songs in the playlist are structured in two halves: 50 songs evoke the sober mood of Advent longing, and 50 songs lean more into the festive joy of Christmas.

Listen to the playlist now on Spotify or Apple Music.

Depending on your temperament or season in life, you may gravitate toward the mellow, plaintive first half of the playlist or to the more exultant, upbeat second half. That’s fine. But I’d encourage you to listen to all 100 songs at some point this December. Let their artistry guide you through the beautiful range of “already, not yet” worship between Christ’s two advents: groaning and gratitude, aching and adoration, reflection and celebration, minor falls and major lifts.

May these songs minister to you in the downs and ups of this season, stirring your heart’s affections toward the Son we were given: our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).

Part I: Advent Longing

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Hillside Recording, Eliza King
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” The Gray Havens
“Emmanuel,” Future of Forestry
“Come to Us O Lord,” Young Oceans
“Come Jesus Come,” Stephen McWhirter
“Lord Jesus Come,” Caleb Crino
“Deliver Us,” Andrew Peterson, Scott Mulvahill
“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” Sarah Sparks
“O Come, All Ye Faithful,” John Van Deusen
“Where the Light Is Gone,” The Wood Drake Sessions, Kirk Sauers
“Benedictus,” The Porter’s Gate, Nick Chambers, Pages CXVI
“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Wilder Adkins
“Christmas Bells,” Joel Ansett
“O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines,” Claire Holley
“Carol I, Desire of Nations, Come,” Providence
“Lord Remind Me,” Jon Guerra, Praytell
“Snow,” Sleeping at Last
“Silent Night,” Manchester Orchestra
“Still, Still, Still,” Anna Palfreeman
“Branch of Blessing,” Andrew Joseph Connell
“Jesus, Messiah,” Providence
“God Bless Us Every One,” Haddon, Jimmy Clifton, Will Clifton
“Little Drummer Boy,” John Van Deusen
“White Horse,” Over the Rhine
“Until He Comes Again,” Sandra McCracken, Andrew Osenga
“Christmas Communion Song,” Paul Zach, Lauren Plank Goans
“O Magnum Mysterium,” Morten Lauridsen, Vienna Brass Connection
“The Advent Song,” Future of Forestry
“Come, Lord Jesus, Come,” Steve Thorngate
“Come Thou Almighty King,” Advent Birmingham, Sarah Hydinger
“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Poor Bishop Hooper
“O Jerusalem,” The Porter’s Gate, Greg Thompson
“Felt,” Andrew Joseph Connell
“With Death in Mind,” Ordinary Time
“You Were Born to Die,” Providence
“Here/Now,” Joshua Leventhal
“Our God Came Down to Us,” Sarah Sparks
“Every Valley (It’s Hard to Wait),” Rain for Roots, Flo Paris
“Hope for Soon,” The Calendar Years
“Soon,” Brooke Ligertwood
“Father Winter,” Pacific Gold
“See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” Thomas Aston, One Hope Project
“Once in Royal David’s City,” Sandra McCracken, Matt Papa, Laura Story
“The Christmas Song,” Vince Guaraldi Trio
“It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” Over the Rhine
“O Holy Night,” Josh Garrels
“This Is the Truth Sent from Above,” Choir of King’s College
“Silent Night,” Brian Fallon
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Future of Forestry
“O Come All Ye Faithful,” Ben Fuller

Part II: Christmas Joy

“Joy to the World,” Aretha Franklin
“O Come All Ye Faithful,” Kingdom Kids, Shane & Shane
“Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee,” Maverick City Music
“Oh for Joy,” Folk Hymnal
“Ding Dong Merrily On High,” Rend Collective
“Christmas Morning,” The McClures
“Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery,” The Gray Havens
“Magnificent, Marvelous, Matchless Love,” Keith & Kristyn Getty
“O Holy Night,” TAYA
“Hope Is Alive,” Ellie Holcomb
“Jesus Christ Is Born,” Mac Powell
“Christ Is Born,” Mill City Music
“In the Fullness of Time,” Matt Boswell, Matt Papa
“Baby Son,” John Mark McMillan
“Ways,” Jason Hofer
“Jesus Born on this Day,” Mariah Carey
“O What a King,” Katy Nichole
“Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Mahalia Jackson
“Ring Them Bells,” Ben Fuller, Jonathan Traylor
“Deck the Halls,” Forrest Frank
“O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Folk Angel
“Come Adore the Humble King,” Matt Boswell, Matt Papa
“O Come All Ye Faithful,” Johnnyswim
“Good Christian Men Rejoice, Rejoice,” John Fahey
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Keith & Kristyn Getty
“It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” Sandra McCracken, Joseph Bradshaw
“Angels from the Realms of Glory,” Nathan Drake
“Away in a Manger,” Forrest Frank
“The First Noel,” Special Musick
“Little Drummer Boy,” Blessing Offor
“What Child Is This,” Andrea von Kampen
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” Jeremy Riddle
“Magnificat (Glory to God),” Tenielle Neda, Jon Guerra, Praytell
“Excelsis Deo,” CalledOut Music
“Joy Has Dawned / Angels We Have Heard on High,” Keith & Kristyn Getty
“Joy to the World,” The Gray Havens
“Joy (As Far as the Curse Is Found),” Caroline Cobb
“Away in a Manger (All Glory to Jesus),” Sovereign Grace Music
“Manger Throne,” Phil Wickham
“Come, Let Us Gather,” Jonathan and Emily Martin
“O Come All You Unfaithful,” Travis Cottrell, Brooke Voland
“All Things Are Possible (Gabriel),” Melanie Penn
“Glad Tidings,” Ellie Holcomb
“Hallelujah, Christ Is Born,” Caroline Cobb
“Hallelujah,” Chris Tomlin, Blessing Offor
“Handel’s Messiah,” Jenny & Tyler
“Immanuel,” Beautiful Eulogy
“Joy to the World (Joyful, Joyful),” Shane & Shane, Phil Wickham
“Who Would Have Dreamed,” Sovereign Grace Music
“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Kings Kaleidoscope

Read More

The Gospel Coalition

Generated by Feedzy