Advent hymn

It was the first Sunday of Advent when we sang this hymn in church. It was vaguely familiar. “Awake! Awake and Greet the New Morn.” The lyrics go like this…

Awake! awake, and greet the new morn, for angels herald its dawning. Sing out your joy, for soon he is born, behold! the Child of our longing. Come as a baby weak and poor, to bring all hearts together, he opens wide the heav’nly door and lives now inside us for ever.
To us, to all in sorrow and fear, Emmanuel comes asinging, his humble song is quiet and near, yet fills the earth with its ringing; music to heal the broken soul and hymns of loving kindness, the thunder of his anthems roll to shatter all hatred and blindness.
In darkest night his coming shall be, when all the world is despairing, as morning light so quiet and free, so warm and gentle and caring. Then shall the mute break forth in song, the lame shall leap in wonder, the weak be raised above the strong, and weapons be broken asunder.
Rejoice, rejoice, take heart in the night, though dark the winter and cheerless, the rising sun shall crown you with light, be strong and loving and fearless. Love be our song and love our prayer and love our endless story, may God fill ev’ry day we share and bring us at last into glory.

We couldn’t have been far into the second first when the tears started leaking from my eyes. Later in the service came a sermon that got me scrambling for tissues a second time. By the end of the service, I was well out of tissues and Zoe was giving me sidelong glances. I was comforted that the woman in the pew ahead of us was wiping her eyes too.

Though I have a genetic predisposition to cry in church, it is hard for me to explain crying in church to Zoe (Mark has gotten used to it by now). To let her know that they are not sad tears or necessarily even happy tears. They are tears of recognition. They are, somehow, worshipful tears. Tears of welcome to a God who has shown up and held my heart yet again.

We have sung it each Sunday since, so the lyrics have cemented themselves more firmly in my brain. I find them coming to me when I drift to sleep or when I wake up. “Though dark be the winter and cheerless”–could the author possibly have lived in West Michigan? I remind myself to be “strong and loving and fearless.”

I am looking forward to singing this song on Christmas. I expect I may even cry. Welled up gratitude spilling over for tidings of comfort and joy coming to us even today.

8 replies on “Advent hymn”

Beautfiul, Natasha, just plain beautiful. You are so good at writing what some of us only feel and don’t express as well as you. The feeling is very familiar. Thanks for writing–again. jan

Wonderful. I’ll have to look for a recording of this song. Not that we’ll sing it at our church, but it sounds like one I’d like to hear.

[Raises hand for another church crier.] Lots of crying at our church, in general, so I think that’s a lesson the kids have learned, although it always makes them feel a little shifty.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

that’s powerful. i wish we were singing this at our church. (sigh…) you have many reasons to shed tears, yet you find many more reasons to rejoice. and this is only one of the reasons why i respect you so much. blessings to you tash. i wish the whole household health and happiness.

Hoping you are feeling better and had a joyous Christmas with family and friends! We wish you health and happiness this New Year!

Natasha –
I’m taking the time to read this today. I can relate to the “genetic predisposition” only too well. I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately, and my prayers are with you and your family today. God bless you always. With great love, your cousin, Cathie

Comments are closed.