Friday, December 7, 2012

Nobody does Advent like Lutherans!

It is a couple of weeks into Advent and already I dread the end of Advent.  Nobody does Advent like Lutherans!  The wreath is good but the hymns are the best.  I have commented more than once (probably here as well) that one of the things I would miss most about not being Lutheran are the Advent hymns!

LSB boasts a couple of dozen in the Advent section plus a couple that ended up elsewhere (Rejoice, Rejoice Believers and Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying, for example).  That is up a couple from LW (though Hosanna Now through Advent and Comfort, Comfort Says the Voice did not make the LSB cut).  TLH had one or two less (though Jesus, Thy Church with Longing Eyes, When Sinners See Their Lost Condition, Hosanna to the Living Lord, and Watchman Tell Us of the Night are found only there).  LBW had fewer (though Fling Wide the Door is found there and not LSB) and SBH had the usual suspects but ELW adds more than a half a dozen to LSB (especially newer ones like Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah, Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn, Come Now, O Prince of Peace, Each Winter as the Year Grows Older, He Came Down, Unexpected and Mysterious, As the Dark Awaits the Dawn, and All Earth Is Hopeful as well as the older Nordic one Lost in the Night).  Another Swedish translation is missing from all (Now Hail We Our Redeemer).

Others ancient and new include The Venerable Bede's The Great Forerunner of the Morn.  I am sure I am leaving many out and some have been shoved into other sections (Christmas or the End of the Church Year).  But for me, among the best remain two very different ones:

1                   Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
    And let your lights appear;
The evening is advancing,
    And darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising
    And soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle;
    At midnight comes the cry.

2                   The watchers on the mountain
    Proclaim the Bridegroom near;
Go forth as He approaches
    With alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting;
    The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory;
    The Bridegroom is at hand.

3                   The saints, who here in patience
    Their cross and suff’rings bore,
Shall live and reign forever
    When sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory
    The Lamb they shall behold;
In triumph cast before Him
    Their diadems of gold.

4                   Our hope and expectation,
    O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for,
    O’er this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted,
    We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption
    That sets Your people free!


1                  Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin’s Son, make here Your home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

2                   Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh—
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.

3                   Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown:
God was there upon His throne.

4                   Then stepped forth the Lord of all
From His pure and kingly hall;
God of God, yet fully man,
His heroic course began.

5                   God the Father was His source,
Back to God He ran His course.
Into hell His road went down,
Back then to His throne and crown.

6                   For You are the Father’s Son
Who in flesh the vict’ry won.
By Your mighty pow’r make whole
All our ills of flesh and soul.

7                   From the manger newborn light
Shines in glory through the night.
Darkness there no more resides;
In this light faith now abides.

8                   Glory to the Father sing,
Glory to the Son, our king,
Glory to the Spirit be
Now and through eternity.

Awfully good.  Really!


Dr.D said...

Great comments on the Advent hymns. Rejoice, Rejoice Believers has long been a personal favorite of mine. There is real theology in hymns such as the two that you wrote out in full. They are real gems!

Fr. D+

Anonymous said...

Now, if we could keep the Advent audio in tune with the Advent visual, i.e., keep the Christmas decorations until CHRISTMAS, then you'd have something to write about!

Janis Williams said...

I have always loved hymnody with great theology. Since coming to Lutheranism, my heart soars to read the wonderful, rich, blessed (I could go on with a bunch of adjectives) words.

I listen to an internet radio station (when I'm not listening to Pirate Christian Radio or LPR) that plays medieval music. Lots of Gregorian chant, Praetorius, Byrd, Tallis, etc. Savior of the Heathen Come is my favorite.

Joe Herl said...

"Fling wide the door" is in fact in LSB,, but it is called "Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates." Both are translations of Georg Weissel's "Macht hoch die Tür, die Tor macht weit."

Pastor Peters said...

Does not LBW include both?

Joe Herl said...

If you look up "Lift up your heads" in the first-line index, you'll see that it is number 32. Turn to 32 and you'll find that it is actually "Fling wide the door." It's listed under both first lines in the index because so many people know it by the older translation.