Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  I hope you are having a wonderful time of celebrating Christ's coming with family and/or friends!  I am doing just that, so I will make this post short and let you meditate on the words of one of my favorite hymns.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood;
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Hope and the Magnificat

Photo credit:
I just returned from a wonderful Lessons and Carols service, in which one of the main pieces was a setting of the Magnificat.  It was beautiful to spend that hour meditating in joyful song upon the marvelous works of our God.

One thing I realized is this.  Advent is a time of hope.  Perhaps this is why, for so many of us, it is our favorite season of the church year.  Hope is what keeps us going a lot of the time.  We hope for warmer days.  We hope for healing.  We hope for freedom from sin.  But what is the basis for this hope?  It is, of course, the character of God already shown to us through the events we celebrate during this season: the Word become flesh who made his dwelling among us - our God Emmanuel.  During Advent we celebrate what God has done and look forward to what he will do.

And so we rejoice, even as we cry "O come, O come Emmanuel!"  For how glorious will be that day when he does return, when all of creation joins in the song of worship to the King who became a lowly, suffering, man so that we might know and love Him forever.  Oh, how we will sing!

Some scriptures referenced in this post (for you to ponder if you like):
Luke 1:39-55
John 1:14
Philippians 2:6-11

Sunday, December 04, 2011

candles in the wind

An Advent candle burning on Dec 4th.
Candles are everywhere during Advent.  Not only do we enjoy their light during the longest nights of the year, but they are probably the symbol of Advent - of hopeful waiting and watching, of light coming into the darkness.  I've heard that candles are a good metaphor for the Christian life.  I don't know about you, but I've always found that analogy kind of morbid or depressing.  But now, looking at the Advent candles in my living room, I find myself pondering that parallel anew.