The propers for the Fourth Sunday in Advent have inspired two of my favorite Anglican choral anthems, “Rejoice in the Lord Alway” (Anonymous) and “This is the Record of John” by Orlando Gibbons. While once thought to have been composed by John Redford but now attributed to Anonymous, “Rejoice” puts to music the Epistle reading from the 4th Chapter of Philippians.  While the identity of the composer is in doubt, scholars are very confident this music was written for the monumental publishing of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer – the first such prayer book of its kind written in English.  The opportunity to worship and compose music in the vernacular was a moment full of excitement and exhilaration for many. This excitement shines through in the music of “Rejoice” with its upbeat syncopated rhythms ending in a cascading “Amen” at the conclusion.

There is no doubt about who composed “This is the Record of John,” a verse-anthem piece (solo verses alternating with full choir choruses) written during the reign of King James I.  Gibbons (1583 - 1625), was at the height of his abilities when he composed “Record of John.”  The original text comes from our Gospel reading, John 1:19–23. The text concerns the prophecy of John Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.  There is much drama communicated in the three verses, the first two culminating in forceful denials from John Baptist that one, he was not the Christ, and two, he was not the Prophet Elias (Elijah).  The drama continues to build towards the end of the third verse where John Baptist turns the tables on his inquisitors and is no longer just answering questions but is boldly declaring for all to “Make straight the way of the Lord.”  This is then repeated by the full choir for maximum effect that will leave an impression on anyone listening.

Music is such an important part of our Anglican worship experience, and as a singer, I can avow that singing these glorious anthems and many others like them throughout my lifetime, has brought me closer to God.  Sacred music can raise you up when you are low and inspire you to even greater heights when you are glad-hearted.  Advent music is some of my favorite from the liturgical calendar, and serves as a resplendent counterweight to the unceasing playing of Christmas Carols from October 31st through December 25th (ceasing to be played at the exact time they should start to be played!). God gives us many gifts that serve as pathways we may take to grow closer to Him.  Music is but one.  What is yours?  If you are not sure, pray on it and God will show you.

It is fitting that in this season of Advent, this time of preparation for both Christ’s Coming and His Second Coming, that we are blessed with such inspirational scripture and music through which to experience it.  If we have been properly observing Advent our preparation has now turned a corner.  We are finishing up our “spiritual housecleaning” by making a straight path for our Lord into our hearts.  And we can obey St. Paul’s command to “Rejoice in the Lord Alway” by singing out the words with the glorious and inspirational music written by a faithful servant known only to God. Let us all strive to be like “Anonymous” and use our God-given gifts not for fame, fortune or any aggrandizement of ourselves, but simply for giving thanks to God for the one, true, perfect and eternal gift – the gift of his Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Rejoice!  Amen!

YouTube link for Rejoice in the Lord Alway:  Rejoice In The Lord Alway

YouTube link for This is the Record of John:  This Is The Record of John
(If you're not a subscriber to YouTube, you may get ads before the choral anthems.)

--Fr. Deacon Chris


Please click here to help St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland. Your support during Advent is needed and greatly appreciated.


Saturday, December 17, Caroling in Del Ray -- We will meet at the church from 3:15-3:45 to drop off snacks, etc. for after caroling. Otherwise, plan to meet at the small park at the corner of Mt. Vernon Ave. and Oxford St. at 4:00 p.m. where we will serenade Del Ray’s passers-by. We will begin caroling through the neighborhood at 4:30, reaching the church at around 5:30. For any questions, please contact Clint Taylor at Please plan to join us!

Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services  (for online participation for the services go to: )

Sunday, 10:30 AM, Sunday School

Next Vestry Meeting – Monday, December 19, 7:30 PM . in the church undercroft

Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing

Christmas Services: Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, at 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM

Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, at 12 noon.

New Year's Day Service, 9:00 AM, Holy Communion
Donations to the Food Bank and Marih Center are greatly needed.  Across the country, crisis pregnancy centers have been attacked or vandalized.  The needs are great.  Please help with either a goods donation or a monetary donation.  You can give through the donation button in this newsletter and use the drop down menu to choose "Charity & Mercy."   Thank you.
Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 
 Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes* (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1*, 2, 3*, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment
(Bold and  * are a critical need.)

Clothing for boys and girls (0-6 months)
Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T

Baby shampoo
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Our mailing address is:
St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625