A Blessed Advent to All

November 27, 2016

It’s been seemingly forever since I (Karen) have been anywhere near Lent & Beyond… Bad internet connections and a very very busy season of work and ministry have pushed blogging far off my radar screen.

But I find the beginning of Advent has me itching to blog!  I’m honestly not likely to contribute much, but I may try to post once or twice a week…

For this morning, I want to post three songs that have come up in my Advent playlist this morning…  the first is a CCM classic, the second is a beautiful French worship song that I was introduced to at a retreat earlier this year, and the third is a lovely contemporary adaptation of the traditional O Come Divine Messiah.  I’ll post the songs first, and then post purchase information for all three at the end.

Michael Card’s The Promise – it captures well the hope and expectation of Advent as we review the prophecies and promises made about Messiah’s coming.  How wonderful that we who live in an A.D. word can look back and see that all the promises were true!

The second song is the beautiful, stirring  Eveille-toi, mon âme  (Awake my Soul) by the Canadian worship group Collectif Cieux Ouverts.  The words make a very apt Advent prayer (there is an English translation that appears on the video).

Finally, last year, Redeemer Downtown (the downtown congregation of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC), put out an Advent / Christmas worship album which contains a wonderful adaptation of the classical O Come Divine Messiah.  It’s called In Silence and it’s quickly become one of my Advent favorites:

Here are the lyrics:

o come, divine messiah,
the world in silence waits the day
when hope shall sing its triumph,
and sadness flee away.

o come desired of nations,
whom priest and prophet long foretold,
will break the captive fetters,
redeem the long-lost fold.

o come in peace and meekness,
for lowly will your cradle be:
though clothed in human weakness
we shall your god-head see.

***

Here are links to purchase each song:

  1. Michael Card’s The Promise, from his 1987 album The Final Word. (iTunes US store)
  2. Eveille-toi Mon Ame – the title track on the 2014 album by Collectif Cieux Ouverts (iTunes US store)
  3. Redeemer Downtown’s In Silence, from their 2015 album Permanent City (via Bandcamp)

Note: to find other Advent music I’ve posted over the years, use our Advent Music tag.


Advent Music: Fantastic Rendition of Veni Veni Emmanuel (The Gesualdo Six)

December 5, 2015

Thanks to @StBarnabasMusic  who tweeted this wonderful version of Veni Veni Emmanuel earlier this week.  It is by the British group The Gesualdo Six.

Just Stunning.  As you’re listening, thank the Father that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, and invite Jesus to come near, filling your heart with more of His Spirit, more of His light and life.

If you are a lover of sacred choral music, I HIGHLY recommend following @StBarnabasMusic on Twitter.  I’ve discovered some beautiful selections through their tweets, especially during the major liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent & Easter.


Excellent FREE Advent Music from Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC

December 2, 2015

I’ve fallen in love with a new Advent song from the Worship team at the downtown parish of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City.

They’ve got an album availble called Permanent City

Permanent City cover art

 

I’ve fallen in love with the song In Silence.

You can learn about the album and listen to samples here

You can download it for FREE at Bandcamp:

 


Advent – Make Time to Prepare a Place

November 29, 2015

This morning, a perfect song for Advent came up in my worship playlist:  Prepare a Place, written by Christine Dente and Michael W. Smith.  It’s from a 2004 Christmas compilation by various artists called Gloria.

The lyrics are an exhortation for us to intentionally enter into this season of waiting and prepare our hearts anew for Christ’s coming:

Prepare A Place

Prepare a place, while you’re waiting.
Prepare a place for the coming One.
Prepare a place and be patient.
While you wait for the coming One.

Chorus:
Wait for the coming One!
While you wait for the coming One!

Prepare your heart, while you’re waiting.
Prepare your heart for the coming One.
Set time aside and be quiet.
While you wait for the coming One.

– written by Michael W. Smith and Christine Dente, from the 2004 album “Gloria”


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

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.


An Advent Devotional – Waiting for Christ, Witnessing, Working…

December 10, 2014

I love the Rev. Glen Scrivener’s blog, The King’s English, but because he blogs through the Scriptures consecutively, his posts are not always tied to the liturgical season.  Yesterday’s entry “A Labour of Love,” however, was specifically tied to Advent.  It’s based on Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 1 where he talks about waiting for Christ’s return, and the believers labour of love which flows out of their hope in Christ:

But how do we wait?  Like the picture above?  Scanning the sky for signs of His coming?  Scouring the newspapers for clues to His advent?

We’re called to be on the welcoming committee, but many want to be in the planning group.  It’s something Jesus refuses to bring us in on.  Just before He ascended His followers wanted to get an eschatological timetable from Him:

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:6-8)

They wanted to know times and seasons.  Jesus says ‘That’s not your job!  Your job is to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.’

We do not wait by worrying about when.  We wait by witnessing. (emphasis added)

It’s interesting how Acts 1 continues.  Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples are – understandably, you’d think – gazing into the heavens.  But angels appear to tell them to stop gawping at the skies (Acts 1:10-11).  The posture of the church, as we wait for Christ, is not stationary, faces heavenwards.  Instead our posture is shaped by Acts 1:8 – we’ve been given our marching orders and out we go – to the ends of the earth as witnesses of Christ.

And so in the same chapter that tells us of the Thessalonians “waiting for God’s Son from heaven” Paul also gives us this description of their current life:

“[We remember] without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Here again is Paul’s famous trio:  faith, hope and love.  Our faith looks back to Christ’s first coming and it inspires work.  Our hope looks forward to Christ’s second coming and brings patience.  And love is the atmosphere of our present lives – confident of the salvation Christ has won, and expectant of the cosmic redemption He will bring.  Now we are free from having to build our own identity or secure our own future.  Now we can love.  And this love will be a busy, active thing.  It is a “labour of love.”

We’re not working towards our vindication, our joy, our purpose in life. We’re working from that sure gift from Christ.  Therefore Christian work is a “labour of love.”

Are your Christian efforts “a labour of love”?  If they’re feeling more of a “millstone around your neck“, then these aren’t the kind of labours that will honour Jesus.  Let me suggest that you may have forgotten the other two elements of the trio.  Remember, we have a sure faith, grounded in Christ’s first coming.  And we have a certain hope, expectant of His second coming.  If you want to rekindle the love: look again to Christ this Advent – His faultless work for you and your expectant wait for Him.  A fresh vision of Jesus turns labour into “a labour of love.”

I strongly recommend reading the full entry.

***

As an “Advent extra,” when I read the title of Glenn’s post “Labour of Love,” I couldn’t help but think of a wonderful Andrew Peterson duet with Jill Phillips of the same title, from his amazing album Behold the Lamb of God – one of the best CCM albums ever.    Here’s a video version of the song below, enjoy!


Fantastic Advent song: All Things New by Red Mountain Music

December 9, 2014

FANTASTIC.  This is such a lovely song and it perfectly expresses our Advent longing and groaning for the Lord’s coming to restore all things and destroy the curse of sin.

To listen / download the song:  Red Mountain Music: All Things New

 The lyrics and music can be found here.

May our love not wax cold, but may the Lord help us remain alert and watchful in eager expectation of His return.

***

Another good song from Red Mountain Music for Advent:  How Sweet to Wait

***

UPDATE:  with a little bit more time online this morning, I was able to find the original hymn, Come Lord and Tarry Not by Horatius Bonar which inspired Red Mountain’s version of “All Things New.”

Come, Lord, and Tarry Not” (Horatius Bonar, 1846)

Come Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long-looked-for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”:
Dost Thou not hear the cry?

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and bring Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.

Amen.

 


A good Advent hymn for a family sing-a-long: Long Ago Prophets Knew

December 4, 2014

I tweeted about this hymn the other day, but did not find time to post it here at the blog. Via Patrick Comerford’s Advent 2014 Hymns for Advent series, I discovered this new-to-me Advent hymn “Long Ago Prophets Knew”

The hymn may be new to me, but the tune is one I know well – it’s the tune to the Christmas carol “On this day earth shall ring.”  So many Advent hymns are in minor keys or hard to sing.  The combination of an easy tune to sing and the rhyming lyrics, as well as the message of the words makes this hymn a very good one for Advent family devotions.

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew,
come to make all things new;
bear his people’s burden,
freely love and pardon.

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
when he comes,
who will make him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
this is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
born himself of woman,
God divinely human: Refrain

Mary, hail! Though afraid,
she believed, she obeyed.
In her womb, God is laid:
till the time expected,
nurtured and protected, Refrain

Journey ends! Where afar
Beth’lem shines, like a star,
stable door stands ajar.
unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Here’s a recording of this hymn via YouTube:


An 8th c. Advent Hymn (Creator of the Stars of Night)

December 3, 2014

One of the bloggers I follow, Trevin Wax, posted a portion of an ancient Advent hymn on Sunday:

Come, Sun and Savior, to Embrace

2013112701advent_300Come, Sun and Savior, to embrace
Our gloomy world, its weary race,
As groom to bride, as bride to groom:
The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb.

At Your great Name, O Jesus, now
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things on earth with one accord,
Like those in heaven, shall call You Lord.

Come in Your holy might, we pray,
Redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below,
From all assaults of our dread foe.

– 8th century hymn

Many of our readers may recognize this as the final three stanzas of the lovely and wonderful Advent hymn Creator of the Stars of Night.

There is a great devotional reflection about this hymn here. (It’s a Google books page view, from An Advent Sourcebook, by Thomas O’Gorman, so I can’t copy an excerpt here, but it is really worth reading!)  You can also read the full lyrics, which differ slightly from the version of the hymn typically sung in modern churches.

Here is a nice chanted version of the hymn in Latin & English, performed by the Christendom College Choir & Schola Gregoriana:

Here’s a contemporary rendition from the album High Street Hymns:

***

Update:  I found a copy of the devotional reflection on this hymn which I cited above:

“FOR many, Advent would not be Advent if introduced by any other hymn. It is well-nigh impossible for even the best of poets to find a formula that really corresponds to the first line of the Latin text. The Latin “sidus” [“siderum”] means more than “star.” It includes the stars, of course, but also sun and moon and planets and all the heavenly constel¬lations and comets and meteors. These are the cosmic elements that will appear in later stanzas of the hymn. For the ancients, these mysterious heavenly bodies that moved about and that had their cycles of waxing and waning and that in some unfathomable way could affect the course of human destiny-these heavenly bodies were perhaps living beings.

“The opening line of this Advent hymn should make us think of the great array of all the powerful cosmic bodies that figure in those eschatological texts of scripture where the whole of the created universe responds to the presence of its God. The point of reference is not some lovely nightfall scene studded with gently glimmering stars, but rather that Great Day when “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29). Indeed, this Advent hymn, if we really look at it, is something of a “Dies irae” in a less strident mode.

“In stanza three, the world’s evening draws to a close. We recognize in the last three lines of this stanza the allusion to verse six of Psalm 19, the verse that occurs so frequently in the Christmastide cycle: “And he, as a bridegroom coming forth from the bridal chamber, rejoices as a giant to run his course.” So just when the world seems doomed to certain extinction, the Sun comes forth in a blaze of light and begins its paschal journey across the whole of human life and experience. This imagery is especially appropriate towards the beginning of December and the first Sunday of Advent, when nights are growing progressively longer and longer, until, upon the arrival of the winter solstice just before Christmas, the inexorable onslaught of darkness is reversed with the birth of Christ, the Sun of Justice, who now begins to run his course over the whole of our existence.”

–Chrysogonous Waddell


FANTASTIC Advent Song – Graham Kendrick – The Candle Song

December 2, 2014

How about a great song from Graham Kendrick as you light your family Advent wreath tonight?

Here are the lyrics:

Like a candle flame
Flickering small in our darkness
Uncreated light
Shines through infant eyes

God is with us, alleluia (Men)
God is with us, alleluia (Women)
Come to save us, alleluia (Men)
Come to save us (Women)
Alleluia! (All)

Stars and angels sing
Yet the earth sleeps in shadows
Can this tiny spark
Set a world on fire?

Yet his light shall shine
From our lives, Spirit blazing
As we touch the flame
Of his holy fire

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1988 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk


Advent Poems: The Advent Moon Shines Cold and Clear – Christina Rossetti

December 1, 2014

I’m hoping to post one or two Advent poems each week. 

This poem by Christina Rossetti is probably my favorite Advent poem.  I love its focus on holding tight to the promise that the bridegroom will come even though there are no evident signs of His appearing.  May the Lord strengthen our hope in His promises, our longing for His return, and grant us a persevering and trusting faith, even in the darkest nights of our souls.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. (Psalm 130:5-7 ESV)

 

The Advent moon shines bright and clear; my soul waits
These Advent nights are very long;
Our lamps have burned year after year,
And still their flame is strong.

‘Watchman, what of the night?’ we cry,
Heartsick with hope deferred:
‘No speaking signs are in the sky’,
Is still the watchman’s word.

One to another hear them speak,
The patient virgins wise:
Surely He is not far to seek,
All night we watch and rise.

The days are evil looking back,
The coming days are dim,
Yet count we not His promise slack,
But watch and wait for Him.

Weeping we hold him fast tonight,
We will not let Him go
Till daybreak smite our wearied sight,
And summer smite the snow:

Then figs shall bud, and dove with dove
Shall coo the livelong day;
Then He shall say ‘Arise, my love,
My fair one, come away!’

The Advent moon shines cold and clear.
We watch and wait.

Found here

Artwork Credit:  A Servant of the Lord blog

***

UPDATE:  There is a wonderful choral rendition of this poem at YouTube.


Music for Advent – a great 15 song playlist

November 30, 2014

I hope within the next day or two to begin posting some Advent music here at Lent & Beyond, as well as a compilation of Advent music resources.

But, in the meantime, Kerry at the Potter’s Shed has posted a lovely 15 song Advent music playlist.  It’s truly a great resource and a help to enter into times of worship with the Lord!  Thanks for taking the time to do this and share it with us Kerry!


A wonderful list of worship links and sermons for Advent Sunday

November 30, 2014

MANY wonderful Advent resources here

including links to live webcasts, as well as saved versions of Lessons & Carols services from various Cambridge University colleges, as well as several churches from the US and UK.


Advent 2014 – An Index of all our Posts

November 17, 2014

Here is a listing of all our Advent 2014 blog entries.  Entries are organized in chronological order (most recent first) in each category.  There is some duplication among categories.

***

KEY POSTS:

Advent 2014 at Lent & Beyond (a brief “menu” of links to navigate among all our various Advent subcategories)

Best of Advent at Lent & Beyond – An Index of our Advent Favorites from the past 10 years

Links to Favorite Advent Devotional Sites for 2014

Advent 2014 – An Index of all our Posts

 ***

Advent Devotionals:

 ***

Advent Family & Children:

***

Advent Music:

***

Advent Poems:

***

Advent Prayers:

 ***

Advent Quotes:

 ***

Advent Resources:

***

If you’d like to browse. through our Advent posts… you can find all our Advent 2014 entries here.

Here’s our Advent 2013 INDEX , or use this link to browse all Advent 2013 entries

Here’s our popular post from 2013 with Anglican Advent Resources. (We’ll be updating that soon for 2014)


%d bloggers like this: