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.

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

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.



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,

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.

Decemer 18 Advent Devotional – Advent Antiphons Day 2: O Adonai

December 18, 2013

Today in Advent we celebrate and remember that Jesus is Lord and call on Him to Redeem us:

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel,
qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

Scriptures to read & reflect on:

Exodus 3:2;  Isaiah 33:22; 63:11-12;  Micah 6:4;  Acts 7:30-31

from this helpful table with all the Antiphons in Latin & English


O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.  Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

Exodus 3:2: “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.  As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed”.

Exodus 6:6: “Therefore say to the Israelites: I am Yahweh.  I will free you from the enforced labor of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery.  I will rescue you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment”.

“Adonai” is Hebrew for “my Lord”, and was substituted by devout Jews for the name “Yahweh”, out of reverence.  With this second antiphon we progress from creation to the familiar story of God manifesting himself by name to Moses and giving his law to Israel as their way of life.  We are also reminded of the Israelites’ deliverance from bondage under pharaoh – a foreshadowing of our own redemption from sin.  The image of God’s arm outstretched in power to save his chosen people also brings to mind the later scene of Jesus with his arms outstretched for us on the cross.

From Jeanne Kun’s wonderful series of reflections on the Antiphons of Advent


I can’t think of crying to Jesus, our Adonai, without thinking of the CCM group Avalon’s wonderful worship song Adonai.  Perfect for today!


Read more about the O Antiphons and find links to other resources here.

An Advent Choral Service with the O Antiphons in your own living room

December 17, 2013

For $10 you can download a wonderful Advent recording and enjoy a traditional Advent Choral Service in your own home:

An Advent Procession based on The Great "O" Antiphons

at iTunes

at Amazon (CD and MP3 versions)

This album, An Advent Procession based on the Great O Antiphons, by the Choirs of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, contains recordings of all the O Antiphons, Scripture readings, Collects and a number of traditional Advent hymns as well.

Listening to this is truly beautiful and a wonderful way to be still and meditate on Jesus in this final week before Christmas.  There are 34 total tracks (for about an hour of worship.)  The service is arranged in chronological order for each of the seven O Antiphons, so you could listen to an Antiphon, a Scripture, a Collect and a hymn each day for the next seven days of Advent.


Other recordings containing the O Antiphons include:

Advent Carols from Saint Johns (iTunes)

And Comes the Day: Carols and Antiphons for Advent (Queens College Cambridge)  (iTunes)

Advent Worship Music 2013, part 2

December 11, 2013

Here are 9 more songs for your Advent listening pleasure. This includes some CCM old favorites (Amy Grant, Michael Card, Twila Paris) and some brand new releases too.

By the way, the final song in the listing “Joy to the World” is a different tune / arrangement than the traditional Christmas Carol and the change really turns this into an Advent carol.  Give it a listen!


Look for another batch of Advent songs next week.  Full track details (artists, albums, purchase links) follow below the playlist.


For more Advent music:

Advent 2013 Worship Music, Part 1  (12 songs)

Our 100 song Advent Worship Playlist is here.

Advent Worship category


Track Details:

Come Emmanuel Twila Paris House Of Worship 2003 iTunes (US)
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Chris Tomlin (Christy Nockels) Glory In The Highest: Christmas Songs Of Worship 2009 iTunes (US)
Come, Oh Redeemer, Come Fernando Ortega Give Me Jesus – EP 1999 iTunes (US)
Emmanuel, God With Us Amy Grant Home For Christmas 1992 iTunes (US)
Fullness of Grace Joanne Hogg, Kristyn Getty & Margaret Becker New Irish Hymns 3 – Incarnation 2004 iTunes (US)
Great Hope Sara Taylor Light Is Here: Songs for Advent – EP 2013 iTunes (US)
Immanuel Michael Card The Life 1987 iTunes (US)
Joy to the World Sojourn Advent Songs 2007 iTunes (US)
Prepare Him Room Paul Baloche Christmas Worship 2013 iTunes (US)

Note: I had trouble uploading Michael Card’s Immanuel tonight. I kept getting an error. I’ll work on fixing the playlist in the morning. In the meantime, you can listen to Immanuel online at YouTube here.

An Index: Emily Gibson’s 2013 “Advent Canticles” series at Barnstorming [FULL SERIES]

December 10, 2013

Emily Gibson’s Advent Canticles series this year at her blog Barnstorming is something I’m enjoying tremendously and recommend highly.  Each day she is posting one or two entries with links to several versions (ancient and modern) of Advent or Christmas carols – some well known, others less familiar, with the lyrics, and wonderful, brief, accompanying reflections and Scripture verses.  A wonderful way to treat yourself to 5 or 10 minutes of quiet Advent worship this season.

Because I’m enjoying this series so much (it’s great getting to listen to new versions of some well-loved carols, and to discover other carols for the first time), I’m wanting to post an index here of links to all her entries.  I’ll update this every few days throughout Advent.


For each entry, I’m listing the title of her blog entry followed by the name of the carol in parentheses.

December 25, 2013
All is Well [All is Well – Michael Farren/Sue Smith/Kenna Turner West]

December 24, 2013
Peace Peace [Peace, Peace …. Silent Night]
Sun’s First Dawning Ray [O Little Child ~Lori Pappajohn]
Wonders of His Love [Joy to the World]

December 23, 2013
Our Hearts Raise [Angels We Have Heard on High]
Word In Flesh Appearing [O Come All Ye Faithful]
How Great Our Joy [While by my Sheep]

December 22, 2013
The Grateful Earth Rejoiced [Gesu Bambino, Pietro Yon 1917]
A Need for Peace [Take a Walk Through Bethlehem, Trisha Yearwood]
Everything is Going to Change [Gloria, Song of the Shepherds by Jason Gray]

December 21
The Promise of Ages [I Wonder as I Wander]
Slumber Deep [Rocking Carol, traditional Czech carol]

December 20
Nor Say Nor Sing [The Coventry Carol (lully, lullay)]
To Redeem Us All [The Holly and the Ivy]

December 19
Grace Out of the Void [Vienna Teng “The Atheist Christmas Carol”]
For the Good of Us All [In a Byre near Bethlehem, John Bell 1987]

December 18:
With God in Unity [Zither Carol (Traditional Czech carol)]
Here with Us [Here with Us, Joy Williams]

December 17
The Soul Felt Its Worth [O Holy Night]
The Great I Am [Mary Did You Know]

December 16
Word Made Flesh and Blood [The Babe of Bethlehem, William Walker 1835]
Rest Beside the Weary Road [It Came Upon a Midnight Clear]

December 15
The Wonders of His Glory [Fum, fum, fum!  – Catalan Carol]
Lightens Every Load [Lo How a Rose Eer Blooming]

December 14
Who Brings You Beauty, Peace and Joy [Huron Carol -“Twas the Moon of Wintertime” Words: Jean de Brebeuf, ca. 1643]
In Two Tongues One Song [John McCutcheon “Christmas in the trenches”]

December 13
Breath of Heaven [Breath of Heaven (Amy Grant)]
One for the Heart [Carol of the Children (Rutter)]

December 12
Every Breath Hallelujah [Cloverton, Christmas Hallelujah adapted from Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah)]
God and Man Closely Joined [Patapan]

December 11
Stars Were Glowing [Appalachian Carol: Jesus Jesus Rest Your Head]
The Silent Word is Pleading [What Child is This]

December 10:
Turning the World Around [Canticle of the Turning (a version of the Magnificat)]
Betelehemu: City of Wonder (A Nigerian Carol)

December 9:
O Great Mystery (O Magnum Mysterium)
The World is Sleeping (Still, Still, Still)

December 8:

December 7:

December 6:

December 5:

December 4:

December 3:

December 2:

December 1:

November 30:

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