Through the last week of Advent and through the first three days of Christmas, my wife and I are staying at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey near Pecos, New Mexico – east of Santa Fe. It’s been a serene way to prepare for Christmas, and I will write soon about Compline at the Abbey.
Several weeks ago, with the massacres in Paris and San Bernardino, fear was very much in the air. As I sang the hopeful Advent hymns, I knew again that the words turn us away from fear to hope, from despair to joyful expectation. Here’s one example:
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Another is the hymn “Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding,” which I’ve excerpted from our Compline service from the Second Sunday of Advent:
Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding;
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say,
“Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day.”
Lo, the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from Heav’n;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven.
So when next He comes with glory,
And the world is wrapped in fear,
May he with His mercy shield us,
And with words of love draw near.
Honor, glory, might, and blessing
To the Father and the Son
With the everlasting Spirit,
While eternal ages run.