The liturgy during Advent "fasts" from the Greater Gloria (it will be sung again come Christmas Midnight, when first its opening words rang out over the fields of Bethlehem). And with the readings, not long for the first Sunday in Advent, the liturgy seems to hasten toward the Sermon and the Supper.
The hymnody of this day is particularly richly. One barely knows where to begin! Just a handful of the joyous words: "Come, Thy beauty let us see; Anxiously we wait for Thee..." "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 loves excelling, Our lost and fallen race..." "A humble beast He rides, Yet as a King presides; Thou not arrayed in splendor, He makes the grave surrender. Hosanna, praise, and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee..." "Soon will come that hour—When with mighty power, Christ will come in splendor And will judgment render, With the faithful sharing Joy beyond comparing."
Pastor gave a deeply fitting homily, summoning us into the joy of repentance and devoting ourselves to the peace that only comes from our gathering in Christ's presence in this world. And of course, like the pilgrims in Jerusalem on the day Christ entered His holy city, we sang our joyous hosannas and knelt before our King who comes to us still in His very body and blood.