In recent years the evening service of Compline has grown in popularity, particularly when sung in a darkened church amidst candlelight and incense. When done this way, the service becomes a mystical, contemplative experience that is particularly appropriate to the season of Advent and its overarching themes of waiting, preparedness, and expectation.
This Advent Service of Compline, drawn from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, 1979, is set here to the plainsong chant Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel). It can be sung by any group of individuals assembled together. It can be sung by a choir as an Advent devotion at the end of weekly rehearsal, by a church group at the end of an evening meeting, or as a scheduled service in a parish’s regular weekly (or daily) rotation of liturgies in the Advent season. The service is short, and can be sung simply as presented here to great effect. Alternatively, there is the possibility of incorporating anthems or motets at various points in the liturgy.