Yesterday in worship we sang the Carol, “Awake! Awake and greet the new morn.” I invite you this morning to read these words slowly/prayerfully, letting each syllable settle into your soul. I encourage you to see which sentence causes your heart to leap and which sentiment causes you to question what is possible or practical. Watch where you put the emphasis; you may want to softly whisper the words and then bravely, boldly declare them emphatically for your neighbors to hear.
Awake! Awake, and greet the new morn, for angels herald its dawning,
Sing out your joy, for Jesus is born, behold! The Child of our longing.
Come as a baby weak and poor, to bring all hearts together.
To open wide the heavenly door, and lives now insides us forever…
To us, to all, in sorrow and fear, Emmanuel comes a-singing.
Whose humble song is quiet and near, yet fills the earth with its ringing.
Music to heal the broken soul and hymns of loving kindness,
the thunder of the anthems rolls to shatter all hate and injustice…
In deepest night Christ’s coming shall be, when all the world is despairing,
As morning light so quiet and free, so warm and gentle and caring.
One without voice breaks forth in song, a lame one leaps in wonder,
The weak are raised above the strong, and weapons are broken asunder…
Rejoice, rejoice, take heart in the night, though cold the winter and cheerless,
The rising sun shall crown you with light, be strong, and loving and fearless.
Love be our song and love our prayer, and love, our endless story.
May God fill every day we share, and bring us at last into glory.
One of the sentences that sits in my soul is in the first verse ~ third line ~ come as a baby weak and poor, to bring all hearts together. God comes as a baby weak to show us the way to life. I wonder if the counter-cultural truth of Christmas ever really sinks into our souls? God comes not in military might or with a glitz and glamour or political power ~ God comes weak and poor. Wait, you think, isn’t God all powerful? The puzzling paradox, even contradiction, is that God enters our world not with coercion or control, but softly on a silent night hardly noticed amid the chaotic cacophony of the census ~ the stress and strain of people feeling oppressed ~ the uncertainty and uncontrollability of the world. That sounds a lot like today. God doesn’t pound on the door of your heart with demands or decrees (like Caesar), but patiently ~ persistently ~ waits at the door of our soul for you to open to a Presence that has been there all along. Advent ~ awaking to the Holy hovering ~ not just here and now ~ but so we can live this way every day in the coming year. That is what we greet with anthems sweet ~ if we are ready and willing to let God reside in our hearts.
What in this Carol sings to your soul today? How might you awaken to God during Advent in these dwindling days and continue to do so as 2023 dawns? May those questions cause you to prayerfully ponder, and may the candle of hope guide you every day this week. Amen.