Thursday, December 27, 2012

Because the Music Tells the Story

"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"
Translated from German by Theodore Baker
Tune: Es Ist Ein Ros

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.
Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind:
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright
She bore to men a Savior
When half-gone was the night.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load

I grew up in a church tradition that did not celebrate Advent. Advent was implied, but not emphasized. Mr. B and I now attend services at a church that celebrates the season of Advent and I enjoy the time of reflection not just on the arrival of the Christ Child, but the anticipation of the Christ Child and all his arrival brings. The lighting of the candles each week is a reminder of the light about to enter a darkened world. And I love that.

This advent carol, "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," combines the story of Christmas with the prophecies from the Old Testament book of Isaiah that foretold Christ's birth. The tune, dating at least as far back as the 1580s, is beautiful. Jesus is the light, dispelling the darkness of the world like the Advent candles that light the church sanctuary. The last line promising a lightened load for the year (and lifetime) inspires such hope in all who celebrate Jesus's birth, life, death, and resurrection.

I hope your holidays are blessed with fun, laughter, family, friends, and time to sit and ponder the wonder that is life. Merry (belated) Christmas!

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