This Advent season I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to.
Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent! And also, Merry Christmas Eve! Today is the joyful climax of the Advent season, and the bizarre transition point to the Twelve Days of Christmas, as at least according to one pastor, today is the first time since 1994 that the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, fall on the same day.
As such, I have the beautiful tune of “Stille Nacht,” by Franz Gruber in my head this afternoon. It also came to mind early this morning before worship for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. It was a beautiful and still early morning or late, late night, if you prefer, as the snow fell beautifully outside. It will be a beautiful evening too as we sing this famous carol by candlelight.
Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight;
glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing, alleluia!
Christ the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!
Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from your holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at your birth, Jesus, Lord, at your birth.
Wherever you may find yourself this evening, I hope that you are able feel and see “love’s pure light,” born for you anew. I hope that the “dawn of redeeming grace,” is one of hope, peace, and joy. And, if you find yourself in the area, I invite you to join me at Salem Lutheran for candlelight worship and communion at 5pm, as well as for Christmas Day worship tomorrow morning at 10am.
Merry Christmas, and thank you for being part of this Advent journey this season with me!
Credit/Reference: Joseph Mohr, Franz Gruber, “Silent Night, Holy Night!” Tr. John F. Young. Found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 281.