Prison Diary: Advent Hymns

Over the years I've written a couple of reflections about Advent out at the prison. The two most popular posts have been Advent: A Prison Story and Piss Christ in Prison: An Unlikely Advent Meditation.

But the most popular Advent post I've written is Christmas Carols as Resistance Literature. And that's especially true during Advent out at the prison.

I've had to educate the men in the Bible study about Advent. They've been liturgically impoverished. So we've started to sing Advent hymns and Christmas carols during the weeks of Advent. Our singing this time of year, given the Advent theme of waiting for the end of captivity and exile, is particularly poignant and profound. Christmas is a hard time for lots of people. You can imagine how hard it is for the incarcerated.

And so we are singing Advent hymns on Monday nights, songs of resistance to fend off despair and chase away the darkness.
O come, O come, Emmanuel 
And ransom captive Israel 
That mourns in lonely exile here

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