Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Advent

This Sunday marks the Fourth and final Sunday in Advent. At church this morning and also at home tonight, we lit the final purple candle, the Angel candle. The reading at Lake Murray today included these words from Isaiah:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders
and he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(9:6, NIV)

The Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent reads:

O Lord, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end, amen.

Lake Murray only had one service today, so we didn't have our Advent celebration in Sunday School as usual this season. But we celebrated Advent together tonight, also reading from Isaiah as well as St. Matthew's Gospel and St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. We also read a devotional on the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," a perennial Christmas favorite penned by Charles Wesley in 1739. Listening to the lyrics read as poetry somehow makes me consider the words more carefully than singing them. As Christmas is literally a day or two away, I thought I'd post the lyrics to this carol for you to enjoy as much as we have:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heaven adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th' incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hark! The herald angel sings,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give us second birth.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Glory, indeed, to the Newborn King! And a Joyeaux Noel to you as well!

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