Advent Listening Nos. 16-20

Here’s me, huffing and puffing, sprinting to catch up with a rapidly diminished Advent season. This album of Swedish Christmas music has enough goodness to count for the whole third week of the season. So, here you go.

More Advent poetry

God tries on skin
by Marjorie Maddox Phifer

Once, he stretched skin over spirit
like a rubber glove,
aligning trinity with bone,
twining through veins
until deity square-knotted flesh.

In a whirlwind spin
he shrank to the size of a zygote,
bobbed in a womb warm as Galilee’s shore.

In the dark,
he brushed up on Hebrew,
practiced his crawl.

After months scrunched in a circle,
he burst through his cellophane sac,
bloodied the teen legs
spread on the straw.

In his first breath
he inhaled the sweat
of Romans casting lots,
sniffed the wine mixed with gall.

Advent Listening No. 14

Peace be to you and grace from him
Who freed us from our sins
Who loved us all and shed his blood
That we might saved be
sing Holy, Holy to our Lord
The Lord, Almighty God
Who was, and is, and is to come
Sing Holy, Holy Lord
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell within
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below
For Christ is coming, is coming soon
For Christ is coming soon
E’en so Lord Jesus, quickly come
And night shall be no more
They need no light nor lamp nor sun
For Christ will be their All!

Advent Listening No. 13

Another one from Billings for you.

Methinks I see an heav’nly host,
Of angels on the wing!
Methinks I hear their cheerful notes,
So merrily they sing,
So merrily they sing.
Let all your fears be banish’d hence,
Glad tidings I proclaim;
For there’s a savior born today,
And Jesus is His name,
And Jesus is his name.

Lord! and shall angels have their songs
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose these useless tongues
When they forget to praise!
‘Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn!’
We join to sing our Maker’s love,
For there’s a Saviour born.

Advent Listening No. 12

Love ’em or hate ’em, The Oh Hellos sure play expressive music. This rendition of the Coventry Carol has one of the most appropriate deliveries I’ve heard of the lines:

Herod the king, in his raging
charged he hath this day
his men of might, in his own sight
all children young to slay

Advent Listening No. 11

Excuse the prom suits and garish lighting and enjoy.

Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete

Tempus adest gratiae, hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus

Deus homo factus est natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante

Ezechielis porta clausa per transitur
Unde lux est orta salus invenitur

Ergo nostra cantio psallat iam in lustro
Benedicat domino salus regi nostro

Rejoice, rejoice, Christ is born of the Virgin Mary!
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! Etc.

The time of thanksgiving is here, that which we have been hoping for.
Let us utter songs of joy with devotion!

God has been made man to the astonishment of all Creation.
The world has been made new by the reigning Christ.

Ezekiel’s closed gate has been entered.
Salvation is found from where the light has risen.

Therefore, let our chorus sing psalms of purification,
let us bless the Lord. Good health to our King!

Advent Listening No. 10

Many Christmas carols draw inspiration from winter. I think this works well with what might be called folk carols, like “Good King Wenceslas,” but there aren’t very many wintry Christmas hymns that make good sacred music. But there are some exceptions…

Advent Listening No. 9

Many Christmas carols tell a story, usually the story of the nativity. I like this one because it starts in the Garden with the fall of man before moving to the Incarnation. The version I chose is fairly simple, which is probably the way to go when singing any song that tells a story.

1. The Lord at first did Adam make
Out of the dust and clay,
And in his nostrils breathed life,
E’en as the Scriptures day.
And then in Eden’s Paradise
He placed him to dwell,
That he within it should remain
To dress and keep it well.

[Chorus].
Now let good Christians all begin
An holy life to live,
And to rejoice and merry be,
For this is Christmas Eve.

2. And then within the garden he
Commanded was to stay,
And unto him in commandment
These words the Lord did say:
The fruit which in the garden grows
To thee shall be for meet,
Except the tree in the midst thereof,
Of which thou shalt not east. [Chorus].

3. For in the day that thou shalt eat,
Or do it them come nigh;
For if that thou doth eat thereof
Then surely thou shalt die.
But Adam he did take no heed
Unto that only thing,
But did transgress God’s holy law,
And so was wrapt in sin. [Chorus].

4. Now mark the goodness of the Lord
Which he for mankind bore,
His mercy soon he did extend,
Lost man for to restore;
And then for to redeem our souls
From death and hellish thrall,
He said his own dear son should be
The Saviour of us all. [Chorus].

5. Which promise now is brought to pass,
Christians, believe it well;
And by the coming of God’s dear Son
We are redeemed from thrall.
Then if we truly do believe,
And do the thing aright;
Then by his merits we at last
Shall live in Heaven bright. [Chorus].

6. Now for the blessings we enjoy,
Which are from Heaven above,
Let us renounce all wickedness
And live in perfect love.
Then shall we do Christ’s own command,
Ev’n his own written word,
And when we die in Heaven shall
Enjoy our living Lord. [Chorus].

7. And now the tide is nigh at hand,
Int’ which our Saviour came;
Let us rejoice, and merry be,
In keeping of the same.
Let’s feed the poor and hungry souls,
And such as do it crave;
Then when we die, in Heaven sure,
Our reward we shall have. [Chorus].

Lyrics from here.