7.December.2014, #273

Started with my rendition of Angels We Have Heard On High, followed by a call/response reading from The Worship Sourcebook (very helpful resource).

In this Advent season of waiting on the Lord,

we trust in the Lord’s goodness. We rely on his mercy. We find shelter in his steadfast love.

In this Advent season of waiting on the Lord,

we walk in the Lord’s way. We follow his example of love. We keep our covenant promises.

In this Advent season of waiting,

Lord, forget our sins; remember your love; remember each one of us; remember your people everywhere; remember your children the world over.

In this Advent season of waiting,

Lord, we wait for your salvation. We wait for your leading. We wait for your arriving.

Sticking with the angels motif, we then played Angels From the Realms of Glory, but in the same style & progression as Come Thou Fount (Sufjan's version).

I was thinking about how Christmas evokes a spirit of good times - happiness, family, fireplaces, warm fuzzies, etc - and mixes it with a desire to spend lots of money on "perfect" gifts. And oftentimes it is only secondarily that we consider the gift and presence of God's son, and the abject humility of his birth, and the lifestyle he led, and the selfless work of his we are called to imitate. My friend Randy turned me onto this old song by Stephen "Stinkin'" Foster, and I think that it captures well a sense of deep reflection on highs and lows which Christmas always elicits, for me at least, and therein set a good space for a (Christmas) confession. The best part was that I purposefully pulled a child-friendly confession from The Worship Sourcebook and asked Haley, who is 6, to read it; she walked onstage, pulled a piece of paper from out of her boots, and read it loud and clear. It was incredible.

Lord God, our lives are filled with sin. We forget our neighbor’s needs and do not love you above all else. We need a Savior. Help us to be ready for Jesus in our own hearts. O come, O come, Savior of the world. Amen.

Angels from the realms of glory
Wing your flight o’er all the earth
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth

Shepherds, in the field abiding
Watching o’er your flocks by night
God with us is now residing
Yonder shines the infant light

Sages, leave your contemplations
Brighter visions beam afar
Seek the great Desire of nations
Ye have seen His natal star

Saints, before the altar bending
Watching long in hope and fear
Suddenly the Lord, descending
In His temple shall appear

Sinners, wrung with true repentance
Doomed for guilt to hopeless pains
Justice now revokes the sentence
Mercy calls you, break your chains

Though an Infant, now we view Him
He shall fill His Father’s throne
Gather all the nations to Him
Ev’ry knee shall then bow down

All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son
Evermore your voices raising
To th’ eternal Three in One
— Angels from the Realms of Glory
Let us pause in life’s pleasures
And count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears
O, hard times come again no more

‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
How we tremble before thee
Have mercy we implore
O hard times come again no more
— Hard Times
Posted on December 27, 2014 .