"One generation shall proclaim Your works to another." And so the hymns and songs of Christians who have long since gone to their eternal rest, continue to live on in the Church and to bring blessing to new generations. There are so many beautiful hymns to welcome the growing Advent light, but one that I've become especially enamored of in recent years is this ancient office hymn: Conditor Alme Siderum. In some Lutheran orders it was sung and prayed daily at Vespers during the days of Advent. Its tune is as peaceful as its words:
Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people's everlasting Light:
O Christ, Redeemer, save us all
And hear Thy servants when they call.
Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death a universe,
Hast found the healing full of grace
To cure and save our ruined race.
Thou cam'st the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to eventide,
The spotless Victim all divine
Proceeding from a virgin shrine.
At whose dread name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things celestial Thee shall own,
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.
O Thou whose coming is with dread
To judge the living and the dead,
Preserve us from the ancient foe
While still we wander here below.
To God the Father and the Son
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
Praise, honor, might and glory be
From age to age eternally.
P.S. It is sad to note, though, that the words of verse three have not been fairly translated. The Latin (from the Lutheran Magdeburg Book of 1613): Vergente mundi vespere / Ceu Sponsus ex cubuiculo / egressus escastissima / De Matris almae clausula. Thus, confessing the closed womb birth. The Lutheran Magdeburg Book of 1613 has the hymn provided for Vespers in this form and with a series of Scriptures listed in the column. When you get to "De Matris almae clausua" we find Ezekiel 44:2. Fancy that! Back to the old Lex Orandi observation - even though confessed in FC SD VII:100, what is not prayed and sung, does not maintain itself in the people's faith.