Advent is a season of preparation in anticipation of Christ’s birth as well as Christ’s second coming, and it is observed for 4 Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of reflection, mourning and yearning for Jesus to come make all things new. Below are 5 songs for the Advent season written by Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander songwriters.
1. “Ososo (Come Now, O Prince of Peace)” by Geon-yong Lee
Geon-yong Lee is a composer and professor of music who was born in what is now North Korea and moved with his family to South Korea after the Korean War. Lee’s song “Ososo” was written in 1988 and it is a prayer for the reunification of the Korean peninsula and all nations. The melody of the song is written in triple meter, which is often found in traditional Korean music. (Source) This song is a wonderful example of contextualized worship that speaks to the contemporary issues of the Korean peninsula and also incorporates traditional Korean music elements. In the video above the song is performed in Korean and English and a Korean drum is also played. “Ososo” can be found in various hymnals and song usage licenses can be purchased at onelicense.net.
2. “Trust and Endure” by Gloria Fanchiang
“Trust and Endure” is a song of lament and encouragement for anyone experiencing difficult seasons of waiting. The lyrics were inspired by my own experiences of waiting; by the Psalms; and by the faith journeys of a good friend who has been waiting for years to be reunited with their deported spouse, as well as another educator friend who was fighting a long legal battle with a corrupt school system. Email email@example.com for song usage permissions and sheet music.
3. “Soon and Very Soon” by Aisea Taimani
“Soon and Very Soon” is a song by Tongan American artist Aisea Taimani. In his words, the song:
“celebrates the ‘here and not yet.’ It’s a communal lament. Although we have come a long way on the road towards freedom, justice and peace; we still have a long way to go & the road has not and is still not accessible for all. (I will wait but won’t pretend like she is here right now.)
It explores a perspective that challenges the dominant narrative where virtue is often masculine. (Soon and very soon she’s coming.) It celebrates how far we have come and how far we still have to go. (I will wait and until then I’m gonna love right now.) It celebrates the journey and the process over the destination.
When your pain and suffering becomes ours, when my joy and laughter becomes ours, when my life is bound to yours; freedom, justice, peace & love is not something reserved for the future, it finds us right where we are.”
Permission granted for non-commercial use in worship. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for chords/lyrics, and purchase/support Aisea’s music on Bandcamp.
4. “Lift Our Heads” by Douglas Chu and Gloria Fanchiang
“Lift Our Heads” is a grungy lament song and modern-day imprecatory psalm that pleads for God to come and bring down oppressors. The song was written by 2 Taiwanese-American songwriters in 2022 in response to anti-Asian hate as well as many other injustices present in the world. Email email@example.com for song usage permissions and sheet music/chords.
5. “Come, Lord! Maranatha” by Rev. Ricky Manalo
Rev. Ricky Manalo, CSP, Ph.D., a Filipino-Chinese American composer, priest and theologian, wrote the Advent song “Come, Lord! Maranatha,” which “sings of yearning and waiting for the Lord’s arrival” (source) Click here for music scores and mp3’s of the song.