Singing through Advent

 by Sr Anna Mary House

“High  o’er  the  lonely  hills    Black  turns  to  grey,

Birdsong  the  valley  fills,      Mists  fold  away;

Grey  wakes  to  green  again,  Beauty  is  seen  again -

Gold  and  serene  again     Dawneth  the  day.”


This  is  Jan  Struther’s  Advent.  What  is   the  Day  that  we  await?  The  Scottish   pastor  James  Montgomery   found his answer in Psalm  72 :  


“Hail to the Lord’s Anointed , Great David’s greater Son!.....

He comes to break oppression,  to set the captive free,

To take away transgression,  and rule in equity........

 To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,

Whose souls,  condemmed  and dying, were precious in his sight.”


An  earlier  poet,  John Milton, pondered over  psalms  82,  85 and 86 , and wrote  :      


Mercy and Truth that long were missed   Now joyfully are met;

Sweet peace and righteousness have kissed  And hand in hand are set.

 Rise, God, judge thou the earth in might ; This wicked earth redress;

For  thou art he who shall by right    The nations all possess.....”          


The Scottish Paraphrasers   in 1781  looked to the second  chapter of the prophet Isaiah, and sang:


 “ Behold,  the mountain of the Lord  In latter days shall rise    

On mountain tops,  above the hills,  And  draw the wondering eyes.

To this the joyful nations  round ,     All tribes and tongues  shall flow;

Up to the Hill of  God,  they’ll say,   And to his house we’ll go.”      


John Morison  looked to the ninth chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy,  rejoicing in the coming of the “child of hope”:


 “His name shall be the Prince of Peace, for evermore adored,

The Wonderful,  the Counsellor,    The great and  mighty Lord.”


From  these earlier writers to the 20th century,  let us sing with Luke Connaughton of the Anointed Healer,  Teacher,  “lamp to every nation”,  who is to bring a glorious dawning of a new daybreak,  as “The voice of God goes out to all the world”;    “With power, with justice, he will walk his way  “.

Aren’t these the longings that fill our hearts  at this time ?  These  are the songs of Advent,  songs  that  we can all sing with the Psalmists the Prophets,  and the Christian  writers who have shared these hopes,  this faith: of a Saviour who has already come,  and is  yet to be born  anew in our own lives.


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