While I was giving the kids a bath, my older daughter asked what we would be singing in church on Sunday. I said that OSLC does Matins on the first Sunday of the month, so both kids started singing Matins in the bathtub.
Some things one shouldn’t resist, so I jumped in until we got to the end of the opening, where we would normally sing, “Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia.” I stopped the show and said, “Wait! Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. We won’t sing Alleluia!”
The Church doesn’t sing Alleluia during Advent or Lent in its liturgy. For Lent the Alleluia is gone from the entire worship. I explained it to the nearly 5-year-olds this way:
When we celebrate Christmas, there are presents to be wrapped, not to be opened until Christmas. When the Church goes through Advent, you’ll see things that indicate the Church is getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. You’ll see the advent wreath with candles that are more and more lit as we get close to Christmas. When we get really close to Christmas, the church will put up the tree and poinsettias. When we worship in church, we put away the Alleluias every year to be opened on Christmas, when we can sing “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” like Handel.
Incidentally the new line at the end of the opening in LSB is, “Praise to you, O Christ, King who comes to save us.” For us older people, Advent is not only about the First Coming of Christ but the Second Coming. Advent hymns like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” have dual meaning for us. Thus it is a reminder that we are still waiting, and Advent carries a penitential air like Lent.