30 November 2011

The Joy of Advent Hymnody

I truly pity those who are unfamiliar with the great hymns of this season.  They are so rich, so full.  Here are just a few of my all time favorite stanzas:

Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown:
God was there upon His throne.

Love caused Your incarnation,
Love brought You down to me.
Your thirst for my salvation
Procured my liberty.
Oh, love beyond all telling
That led You to embrace
In love, all love excelling,
Our lost and fallen race.

A humble beast He rides,
Yet as a king presides;
Though not arrayed in splendor,
He makes the grave surrender:
Hosanna, praise and glory!
Our King, we bow before Thee

Those dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears,
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers.
With what rapture,
With what rapture,
With what rapture,
Gaze we on those glorious scars.

A righteous Helper comes to thee;
His chariot is humility,
His kingly crown is holiness,
His scepter, pity in distress.
The end of all our woes He brings;
Therefore the earth is glad and sing:
To Christ the Savior raise
Your grateful hymns of praise.

We hail Thee as our Savior, Lord,
Our refuge and our great reward;
Without Thy grace we waste away
Like flow'rs that wither and decay.

See, the Lamb so long expected,
Come with pardon down from heav'n
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven.

Not as of old a little child
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights that morning sky.

Enter now my waiting heart,
Glorious King, and Lord most holy.
Dwell in me and never leave,
Though I am but poor and lowly.
Ah, what riches will be mine
When Thou art my Guest Divine!

Thou camest the Bridegroom of the Bride
As drew the world to eventide,
The spotless Victim all divine
Proceeding from a Virgin shrine.

Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus,
Turn not from me aside,
And help me to receive You
This blessed Adventtide.
From stall and manger low
Come now to dwell within me;
I'll sing Your praises gladly
And forth Your glory show!

Then gentle Mary bowed her head:
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said.
"My soul shall laud and magnify God's holy name."
Most highly favored Lady, Gloria!

O come, thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

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