The Advent Procession is a sequence of readings, hymns, and choral music exploring themes of Advent - darkness, light, despair, hope, and justice - and how these are reflected in the oldest stories and wisdom of the Bible, in the prophetic voice, and in the stories of John the Baptist and the birth of the Son of God. During the service, the choir and clergy process from the West to the East, from the darkness towards the direction of the sunrise, towards the land from which comes the awaited king.
The O Antiphons, around which this service is based, date back at least ot the eighth century, and accompany the Magnificat at Vespers on the last seven days of Advent. They draw from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament, to express the longing for the coming of the Christ.
Choral music sung by the Choristers of St John the Divine will include:
- O Virtus Sapientiae (Hildegard of Bingen)
- Drop Down, ye Heavens (Judith Weir)
- Inter natos mulierum (Hans Leo Hassler)
- Magnificat (Johann Pachelbel)
- Sanctus (Rihards Dubra)
- A New Song (James MacMillan)