Advent Reflections

As I previously stated, I had planned an Advent series, but I couldn’t quite get the words or the heart to really commit to it. But I decided to create a single post with my Advent theme. I want to share with you two of my favorite Advent hymns and my reflections on them.

The Canticle of Turning

My favorite verse:

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a
stone will be left on stone. Let the king beware for your
justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne. The
hungry poor shall weep no more, for the
food they can never earn; There are tables spread, ev’ry
mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.
My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the
fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the
dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn!

This hymn is based on Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55 both of which are defiant, subversive songs that uplift the lowly and bring down the powerful. This song is one that dares to speak hope into a bleak world. When we think of Advent, we remember the waiting for the birth of Christ while acknowledging that we are living in the Advent Christ’s return. This song is relevant to our situation in the here and now, while echoing the truth of the past. Sometimes singing a song captures the hope we have can have trouble believing in. This hymn enlivens the spark of hope that I need for the Advent season.

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Photo by Blue Ox Studio on Pexels.com

Now The Heavens Start to Whisper (the tune is very pretty, however, my favorite tune for this song is “Jefferson” which can be heard here.)

My favorite verse:

Heavy clouds that block the moonlight
Now begin to drift away.
Diamond brilliance through the darkness
Shines the hope of coming day.
Christ, the morning star of splendor,
Gleams within a world grown dim.
Heaven’s ember fans to fullness;
Hearts grow warm to welcome him.

I have always loved night time imagery of stars and the moon, and I am all about beautiful poetry. This Advent hymn is about how all of creation is anticipating Christ’s birth, which builds wonder and excitement. Like the previous hymn, there is also a message of social justice. It feels magical. I was always taught that “magic” was “bad” because it was associated with the “evil of witchcraft”. But I believe in the magical feeling that comes with hope in the holy and sacred. The ideals of goodness, kindness, and justice feel otherworldly, and what makes them so magical is that it is promised to come true when Christ comes again. A real wish upon a star that will happen one day. This hymn captures that holy magic that gets us excited for the coming Christmas season.

I have several Christmas songs to reflect on! There will be two parts. Until then, wait and anticipate in Advent.