ADVENT 2015 at Lent & Beyond

November 29, 2015

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Note: this entry is “sticky” and will remain at the top of the blog throughout Advent. Look for new entries below.

Advent has started!!! We wish all our readers a Blessed Advent!

I (Karen) hope to do some Advent blogging this year, though it won’t be daily. Even if I don’t do much blogging, I may be posting some Advent tweets, so keep an eye on our Lent & Beyond Twitter Accout (@AnglicanPrayer)

Here are some links to help you find your way around the wealth of Advent resources at Lent & Beyond:

All new Advent posts for 2015 can be found with our Advent 2015 tag.

For all Advent entries past & present, here’s our Advent category.

Our Advent Subcategories include: Advent Devotionals, Advent Prayers, Advent PoemsAdvent Music, Advent Quotes, Advent Resources, Advent: Family & Children

Here’s the “Best of Advent at Lent & Beyond” entry – compiled last year, with links to many of our Advent favorites from our 10 years of blogging. Here’s our Advent Favorites category.

Here’s the  BRAND NEW UPDATED list of links to excellent sites for Advent devotionals & prayers for Advent 2015.

Here’s the link for all our posts containing Advent worship music.

Here’s the link for all of last year’s entries:  Index of all our Advent entries for 2014

May the Lord prepare all of our hearts for celebrating the miracle of His birth and may He draw us near to Him in worship this Advent.


Ginny Owens: When the Time is Right

December 22, 2014

One of my favorite contemporary Advent songs.  Ginny Owen’s song “When the Time is Right” captures well the waiting, longing and hope in God’s promises.

Unfortunately the song is not available as a download.  It’s from an album called One Silent Night, released in 2000, a compilation of Christmas songs by various artists.
When the time is right
The sun showed no mercy on the African sand,
another week with no clouds in the sky.
Only days filled with chains and Pharaoh’s commands.
The children of God looked to heaven on high.
They’d cry, “Lord, see our tears; tell us how long.”
Then they’d sing themselves to sleep with this song:
We are not forgotten; we are ever in God’s sight.
He will come to us when the time is right!
He will lead us into freedom;
He will lead us into life!
He will come to us when the time is right!
Centuries go by, and again there are tears.
Now the nation’s held in Caesar’s reign.
There’s a hope that their hearts
have held through the years
and as they sing that familiar refrain,
the answer that came down from heaven’s throne
offered freedom from a bondage far greater than Rome!
We are not forgotten; we are ever in God’s sight.
He will come to us when the time is right!
He will lead us into freedom;
He will lead us into life!
He will come to us when the time is right!
When the time is right!
Ginny Owens – 2000

Excellent Resources related to the “O Antiphons”

December 18, 2014

A few excellent links for prayers, music and reflections related to the Great “O Antiphons” of Advent:

A wonderful devotional on O Come O Come Emmanuel / the Antiphons from Cardiphonia – This is really worth downloading!

A nice “O Antiphons Prayer Companion” – a 1o page guide on the Antiphons

Christine Sine at Godspace’s list of resources on the Antiphons

MP3s and Musical Notations for each O Antiphon Chant.

A recording:  St. Mark’s Cathedral: An Advent Procession – the Great O Antiphons

 


Advent Poems: William Cowper – The Shining Light

December 18, 2014

Another post dug up from our 2006 archives…, an Advent favorite that I’m surprised has taken me 8 years to post over here at this version of Lent & Beyond!

William Cowper: The Shining Light

The Shining Light

My former hopes are fled,
My terror now begins;
I feel, alas! that I am dead
In trespasses and sins.
Ah, whither shall I fly?
I hear the thunder roar;
The Law proclaims Destruction nigh,
And Vengeance at the door.
When I review my ways,
I dread impending doom:
But sure a friendly whisper says,
“Flee from the wrath to come.”
I see, or think I see,
A glimmering from afar;
A beam of day, that shines for me,
To save me from despair.
Forerunner of the sun,
It marks the pilgrim’s way;
I’ll gaze upon it while I run,
And watch the rising day.

— William Cowper


Advent Favorites: St Symeon – Come O Eternal Joy

December 16, 2014

As the theme of Week 3 of Advent is Joy, yesterday, I prepared the following entry for today, a re-post from our 2006 Advent archives (from our old, now defunct blog).  Having read the news headlines this morning of the horrific massacre of schoolchildren in Pakistan, I nearly hesitate to re-post this today.  However the tragedies of the world serve to strengthen our longing for His coming… so may we hold on to the hope of His promises today, and the indescribable joy we will know in His presence.

From our 2006 archives

St. Symeon: Come, O Eternal Joy!

I am stealing this shamelessly from Pontifications, artwork and all. It’s just too good! I consider it essential Advent reading (even though Fr. Al posted it weeks ago, I’ve been saving it up) . It so wonderfully expresses the longing for Christ’s return that I want to have. I want to hunger for Christ in just this way — and not only for His second coming, but His daily coming into my life by His Holy Spirit. If I yearned this much for His coming, I would more readily throw off anything and everything that gets in the way of deep intimacy with Christ. Thank you Fr. Al for the wonderful citations you find and post that edify so many of us!

***

St Symeon

Come, O true light!
Come, O eternal life!
Come, O hidden mystery!
Come, O indescribable treasure!
Come, O ineffable thing!
Come, O inconceivable person!
Come, O endless delight!
Come, O unsetting light!
Come, O true and fervent expectation
of all those who will be saved!
Come, O rising of those who lie down!
Come, O resurrection of the dead!
Come, O powerful one,
who always creates and re-creates and transforms
by your will alone!
Come, O invisible and totally intangible and untouchable!
Come, O you who always remain immobile
and at each moment move all,
and come to us, who lie in hades,
you who are above all heavens.
Come, O desirable and legendary name,
which is completely impossible for us
to express what you are or to know your nature.
Come, O eternal joy!
Come, O unwithering wreath!
Come, O purple of the great king our God!
Come, O crystalline cincture,
studded with precious stones!
Come, O inaccessible sandal!
Come, O royal robe
and truly imperial right hand!
Come, you whom my wretched soul
has desired and does desire!
Come, you who alone go to the lonely
for as you see I am lonely!
Come, you who have separated me from everything
and made me solitary in this world!
Come, you who have become yourself desire in me,
who have made me desire you,
the absolutely inaccessible one!
Come, O my breath and life!
Come, O consolation of my humble soul!
Come, O my joy, my glory, and my endless delight!
I thank you that you have become one spirit with me,
without confusion, without mutation,
without transformation, you the God of all;
and that you have become everything for me,
inexpressible and perfectly gratuitous nourishment,
which ever flows to the lips of my soul
and gushes out into the fountain of my heart,
dazzling garment which burns the demons,
purification which bathes me
with these imperishable and holy tears,
that your presence brings to those whom you visit.
I give you thanks that for me
you have become unsetting light
and non-declining sun;
for you who fill the universe with your glory
have nowhere to hide yourself.
No, you have never hidden yourself from anyone
but we are the ones who always hide from you,
by refusing to go to you;
but then, where would you hide,
you who nowhere find the place of your repose?
Why would you hide,
you who do not turn away from a single creature,
who do not reject a single one?
Today, then, O Master,
come pitch your tent with me;
until the end, make your home
and live continually, inseparably within me,
your slave, O most-kind one,
that I also may find myself again in you,
at my departure from this world
and after my departure may I reign with you,
O God who are above everything.
O Master, stay and do not leave me alone,
so that my enemies,
arriving unexpectedly,
they who are always seeking to devour my soul,
may find you living within me
and that they may take flight,
in defeat, powerless against me,
seeing you, O more powerful than everything,
installed interiorly in the home of my poor soul.
Yea, O Master, just as you remembered me,
when I was in the world
and, in the midst of my ignorance,
you chose me and separated me from this world
and set me before your glorious face,
so now keep me interiorly,
by your dwelling within me,
forever upright, resolute;
that by perpetually seeing you,
I, the corpse, may live;
that by possessing you,
I, the beggar, may always be rich,
richer than kings;
that by eating you and by drinking you,
by putting you on at each moment,
I go from delight to delight
in inexpressible blessings;
for it is You, who are all good and
all glory and all delight
and it is to you,
holy, consubstantial, and life-creating Trinity
that the glory belongs,
you whom all faithful venerate, confess, adore, and serve
in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

St Symeon the New Theologian

***

Some personal comments to add as I reflect on this wonderful ancient hymn / prayer:  Ever since Father Al first posted this, I’ve found myself particularly struck by this section at the end:

so now keep me interiorly,
by your dwelling within me,
forever upright, resolute;
that by perpetually seeing you,
I, the corpse, may live;
that by possessing you,
I, the beggar, may always be rich,
richer than kings;
that by eating you and by drinking you,
by putting you on at each moment,
I go from delight to delight

in inexpressible blessings;
for it is You, who are all good and
all glory and all delight

This to my mind echos for me the passage from Romans 13 in the Advent lectionary and the call to cast off the works of darkness and to put on Christ. How much more readily we might be faithful to the apostle’s call if we could sense that putting on Christ would fill us with such delight upon delight. How much more eager we are to cast off the works of darkness when we have an unshakeable conviction in God’s goodness and glory, such that we desire Him above all things, even the pleasures or convenience of our sins, even as Moses desired His reward more than the luxuries and privileges of Pharaoh’s court:

Heb 11:24-26
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (NIV)

Author and theologian John Piper once wrote this about Jonathan Edwards’ teaching, and much of John Piper’s teaching (especially his book “Future Grace”) is based on this concept:

Edwards argued that it is essential that sin be defeated by the promise of superior pleasure in God. Will-power will not suffice. Even when it “succeeds,” will-power religion gets glory for the will, not God. It produces legalists, not lovers.

St. Symeon is clearly among those who was a lover of Christ. May we be also.


An Unconventional Advent song: Michael W. Smith – I’ll Wait For You

December 15, 2014

Michael W. Smith’s song I’ll Wait for You from his 2010 album Wonder makes an excellent Advent video / song I think.  It focuses on holding on to our faith and hope in the midst of the world’s pain and brokenness.

Here are the lyrics:

“I’ll Wait For You”

Good morning Mr. Repo Man
Give me one more week, and I’ll be gone.
It’s been a long hard month of Sunday’s
Still no rain, nothing left around here but the dust and shame
I know you know….mmmm, I know you know.
And I’m trying to find my way, to hold on to my faith
While I wait, for you
I’ll wait for you.
Now I lie awake at night, trying not to think
these are the hardest times I’ve seen
I’m still holding on
I know you never said it would be easy
all thick and no thin, but the man who waits is the man who wins, holding on,
oh yeah, I’m holding on.I’m gonna hide myself away, hide myself away,
And I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you,I’ll wait for you.

I need you now, I need you now, Oh, oh..oh..
You know I need you now, oh, oh, yeah, yeah

And I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you, I’m gonna wait for you,
Oh, I wait for you.

I’m gonna walk on and not get weary now, I’m gonna run and not fall down.
I know that someday, I’ll get my wings somehow, and you will carry me. you will carry me
I’m gonna rise up, like an eagle now, I’m gonna ride that big blue sky,
I’m sure that someday, all that doubt again, you will carry me, you will carry me, even now.
Carry me even now. Your gonna carry me, you will carry me, you will carry me, even now.
Oh carry me, oh yeah.


A good short video message on Advent: Canon Phil Ashey

December 13, 2014

A short 5 minute video reflection focused on the Advent Collect.  Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council focuses on how Advent challenges us to choose an identity firmly rooted in Christ:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.


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