Advent, first ’21

First weekend of Advent, 2021. Two family birthdays and Thanksgiving Day AND a family tradition of tree hunting & homemade donuts… it was all packed into a handful of days this year. It makes for a good kind of chaos and girding up of the loins for all the celebration. Of course, it was bookended with illness in my home, which just added to both the crazy and the exhaustion… but God’s grace was poured on like the best gravy. This life is a gift, and celebrating the start of a new Church Year is absolutely something to treasure. So we pursue this. We cultivate it. We dig in. And it is very good.

Saturday, 11.27
Family Advent Feast

Menu:
Started with Lindt chocolate truffles and a toast with merlot to King Jesus when we lit the Hope candle
Red Wine Tri Tip Steaks (used this for inspiration, but tweaked it like I always do…)
Mushroom risotto (my daughter loves to make this… but we don’t use a recipe… we just go by method, look, and taste)
Roasted veg (olive oil, s&p, garlic powder, Italian herbs; brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, beets, and red onion)
Garlic pull-apart bread (used this for inspiration, then made it monkey-bread-style using a butter-olive-oil-s&p-crushed-garlic-Italian-herbs mixture for dipping each piece of dough)
Salted Caramel Cheesecake (used this recipe for the most part, but used Nilla wafers for the crust. And added a fat pinch of sea salt to each layer of this, because DUH. Extra pink salt in the caramel as well.)

Readings:
Every Moment Holy, liturgy for the start of the Christmas season
Isaiah 9:2-7
Poem, Advent Calendar by Rowan Williams

Carols:
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Savior of the Nations, Come
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Kids’ Gift:
Stratego, 1986 version

Sunday, 11.28
First Sunday of Advent

Menu:
Creamy tomato soup (in my instant pot)
Grilled cheese sandwiches (36 of them, sliced into halves)
Green salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Sliced honeycrisp apples
Double chocolate brownies with toffee & sprinkles on top

Rested with:
Fellowship with friends
Honoring my husband’s birthday
Sharing a meal
Disposable dishes
Playing Fishbowl with all ages
Handel’s Messiah on CD
Singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel in harmony

Advent Hospitality

Happy New Year, Church! That’s right: with the dawn of Advent season comes the new start of the liturgical year. While I did not grow up from the cradle with a big emphasis on the Church Year, my parents were naturally very purposed about setting aside certain things for celebration and observance. There was a definite cyclical rhythm to our year, mostly informed by Christian holidays and weekly Sunday habits, even though I am not sure my mom would have been able to direct you to any books or church traditions for their origin or information. It simply came naturally to her! She has always been good at decorating, showing hospitality, feeding people, and celebrating holy events with simple festivity. Actually, let’s be real: Mama has not always jumped into festivity with simplicity. She can cook up and decorate with incredible flair, detail, abundance, and bounty. As a child, when it came to holidays, I never doubted that our cup overflowed. But it was my mother who taught me by example that celebration & hospitality are both extremely flexible, and that there is just as much value & delight in the simple as in the extravagant. Mama showed me that there are different blessings attendant in those different expressions.

Now as the mama in my own home, I seek to train my children in a similar way… and I try to do it as she did: by action and example rather than by words and description.

Peter Leithart said: “We don’t keep the rhythms of the church calendar out of traditionalism. We mark time Christianly in order to honor Jesus, the Lord of ages whose Advent starts a new age of human history. We observe the church calendar to evangelize time.”

One of my favorite times to do this is during the season of Advent, which is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I have written about this before, but I will share it again this year, because it is always good to share ideas for cultivating a family culture bursting with feasting and joy and multi-generational fellowship. I honestly can’t remember how many years we have been doing this, but my children have no memory of NOT marking Advent in this way… so it is definitely a notable part of our family culture.

Each Sunday of Advent is kicked off for our family by an open invitation to any of our family members (my parents always come, my grandma frequently comes, and my brother’s family has come a couple times) to join us for an Advent Feast on the Saturday evening prior. This is the big meal of the week, where I use our fancy dishes, light extra candles and use ironed linens, make time-consuming meals or things which require special ingredients. We always toast our glasses, cheers to the King! with wine (or sparkling cider), starting the meal with Lindt chocolate truffles and ending it with some kind of sumptuous dessert. We read Scripture, a liturgy, and/or poetry. We sing Advent hymns in harmony around the table. We give our children one group gift at each Saturday feast (books, board games, videos, matching jammies…).

On Saturday, while cooking for the family Advent Feast, I also prep for Sunday… because on each Sunday of Advent, we invite friends over (we aim for two families each Sunday – and then if someone has to cancel last-minute we still have fellowship to look forward to) for a simple meal and afternoon of fellowship. The meal format is almost always soup, bread, and cookies. All of it can be made ahead on Saturday, easily heated up after church, and can be added to (sliced apples? cheese plate? green salad?) if our guests offer to bring something for the meal. I also often opt for disposable dishes, in order to make clean-up extra easy. It not only makes friends feel welcome & at-home without worrying about breaking Great-Grandma’s china, but also enables me not to have two hours’ worth of dishes to wash afterward. We like to play board games or group games with our friends, and often sing some Advent or Christmas carols. Again, we start our meal with a piece of chocolate and a toast to the coming King!

It’s not that it doesn’t take a lot of prep, planning, work, and money… but it feels simple and predictable, completely doable and entirely special.

This is one more of those little “glimpses of paideia,” where we are teaching our children through our family habits and purposed culture about what we believe is important. Where ought our focus be? How should we spend our season of Advent? There is no one right way to do it. This is simply the way that my family has cultivated a practice and a love. It folds in people from our church, our homeschool co op, our family members. It involves food and music and books and gifts. It points us toward Christmas without making us go crazy. It gives boundaries to our plans, so we do not overschedule. It brings our hearts back to Incarnation. Which is really another topic for another post another time…

For now, let me simply leave you with a few links with suggestions for posts and books which I have found enculturating for myself over recent years as I have sought to cultivate a family tradition of marking Advent – this anticipation of the miraculous so extraordinarily astounding that it has been the beginning for the historical church for centuries.

The History of Advent

Lists and links to all kinds of Advent things by Sarah Clarkson

Psalms of Advent by Peter Leithart

Hallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions With Handel’s Messiah by Cindy Rollins

Joy to the World by C.H. Spurgeon

Let Us Keep the Feast by Jessica Snell et al

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Ashiterah Ciuciu

Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross

Around the Year by Maria von Trapp

Holy Week, vii

Holy Week, vii ~ Holy Saturday
Mourning
Sorrow
Forgetting
Jesus in Sheol
Sabbath

Good Friday Artwork Tomb Near | Motion Worship | WorshipHouse Media

This day is one of lamentation and wondering. No festal activity, but lots of prayerful song mingled with art both visual & verbal, with a constant background of musical lamentation. Nothing like my two favorite requiems for this Holy Saturday.


Scripture Reading:
Job 14:1-14
Psalm 31
Matthew 27:57-66
1 Peter 4:1-8

Poetry:

Poem for Holy Saturday by Joseph Carlson

Sepulchre by George Herbert

Cry, Beloved by Ben Palpant

Blessing for Waiting by Jan Richardson, excerpt

Hymns:

Art Study:

The Harrowing of Hell by Hieronymus Bosch, c.15th century
Descent of Christ into Limbo by Bartolome Bermejo, c.1475

Listening:

Holy Week, vi

Holy Week, vi ~ Good Friday
Trial of Christ
Torture of Christ
Mocking of Christ
Conviction of Christ
Crucifixion of Christ
Conversation with thieves
Conversation with loved ones
Darkness
Final words
Death
Rending of the veil
Earthquake
Graves opened
Soldier breaks and pierces
Jesus is laid in a borrowed tomb

Scripture reading:
Psalm 22
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16 & 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42

Hymns:

Poetry:

The Lay of Redemption by Joseph Carlson

The Whirlwind Bides His Time by Joseph Carlson

The Stranger by Ben Palpant

Activities:
Make a Resurrection Garden–closing the tomb and setting a toy soldier as sentry

Bring out the crown of thorns (we made it years ago like this) and place it on an empty table

Special Food:
Hot Cross Buns
(I used this recipe)

Art Study:

The Crucifixion by Matthias Grunewald
Christ on the Cross by Mihaly Munkacsy

Historical Practice Study:
The stations of the cross for protestants, through book and art and poetry.
Stations of the Cross for Children by Julianne Will

Stations of the Cross for Children | The Catholic Company®

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/good-friday-the-stations-of-the-cross/

Listening:

The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer is an oratorio composed by John Stainer n 1887

Holy Week, v

Holy Week, v ~ Maundy Thursday
Washing feet
Last Supper
Predicted betrayal and denial
New commandment
Garden of Gethsemane
Prayer
Disciples fell asleep

Scripture Reading:
Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 116
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-38
Mark 14:1-50

Activities:
washing feet
stripping the tables
walk through a Seder meal

Art Study:

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Maddox Brown, 1852-6
The Last Supper by Leonardo daVinci
The Betrayal of Christ by Caravaggio, c.1603

Hymns:

Agnus Dei

Poetry:

Listening:

Bach – St Matthew Passion BWV 244

Holy Week, iv

Holy Week, iv ~ Holy Wednesday, “Spy Wednesday”; plotting against Jesus, anointing Jesus; teaching, resting, fellowshipping.

Discussion Points:
What was Judas doing on the Wednesday before the crucifixon? Who did he conspire with? What was Jesus doing? Where was He resting? Who was He teaching? Who anointed Him, and what is the significance of this offering?
(Here is an interesting blog about Spy Wednesday.)

Art Study:
Study the visual difference between faithful following and plotting following. What is the posture? Where is there light versus darkness?

File:Master of Perea - Saint Mary Magdalen anointing the feet of Christ - 1975.95.1 - Yale University Art Gallery.jpg
Saint Mary Magdalen Anointing the Feet of Christ
Artist: Master of Perea, Spanish, Valencia, active ca. 1490–1510
Dixon, Maynard_Shapes of Fear
Maynard Dixon (American, 1875–1946), Shapes of Fear, 1930–32

Scripture Reading:
Psalm 70
Matthew 26:6-16
Luke 20:19-26
Luke 22:1-6
John 12:36-50
Hebrews 12:1-3

Hymn:

Snack & Stories:
Today we will eat simple bread and fruit, such as Jesus and the disciples may have had while traveling and fellowshipping and teaching. And we will read The Jesus Story by Mary Batchelor.

Poetry:
Holy Sonnets by John Donne

Activity:
Playing some spy games (ideas here and here to be a fun mom)
Printable activities:

Listening:

Bach’s Chorales & Partita No. 2 in D Minor—Holy Week festival, Tenebrae (what is a Tenebrae?)

Holy Week, iii

Holy Week, iii ~ Holy Tuesday: parables and people

Food:
Tilapia packets with asparagus; brown rice with lemon & Parmesan

Activity:
Excellent resource on parable studies for older kids:

Art Study:

Jesus Preaching by Tissot
The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn
The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh

Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 49:1-7 (or the whole chapter!)
Psalm 71:1-17
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-43

Poetry:

Hymn:

Picture Books:

Listening:
J.S. Bach Cantata on the Parables

Holy Week, I

Holy Week, 1 ~ Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entry


Special Foods:

Pax Cakes with fig butter

Special Activity:

Palm frond crosses

Art Study:

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, by Sir Anthony Van Dyck

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Anthony-Van-Dyck

Scripture readings:

Zechariah 9:9

Psalm 116

John 12:12-13

Song:

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Poetry:

The Donkey, by G.K. Chesterton

Ride On by Henry Hart Milman

Create:

Hosanna lettering & coloring tutorial

https://www.pzazzonline.com/blog/diy-hand-lettering-easter-art-full-tutorial-p-zazz-art-studio

Listening:

Cantata for Palm Sunday by J.S. Bach, “Himmelskönig, sei willkommen” BWV 182: I-IV

Lenten & Eastertide Poetry

Looking for some poetry to memorize with your children during this season? Let me share some pieces here that my family finds pertinent and lovely.

THAT EASTER DAY WITH JOY WAS BRIGHT
By J.M. Neale

That Easter day with joy was bright:
the sun shone out with fairer light
when to their longing eyes restored,
the apostles saw their risen Lord.

His risen flesh with radiance glowed,
his wounded hands and feet he showed;
those scars their solemn witness gave
that Christ was risen from the grave.

O Jesus, King of gentleness,
do thou thyself our hearts possess,
that we may give thee all our days
the willing tribute of our praise.

O Lord of all, with us abide
in this, our joyful Easter-tide;
from every weapon death can wield
thine own redeemed forever shield.

SEVEN STANZAS AT EASTER
By John Updike

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

THE DONKEY
By G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

THE SCARS OF GOD’S HANDS
By Jason Farley

My soul clung to the dust,
now dust clings to my soul.
Your life-breath, once blown
up the nose of my father,
once exhaled in fruit-statutes,
once blown across the dry bones
until they could get up
and dance; breathe life
on me. Speak again the six
stanzas that climb up to rest.
Speak them into me. Tie
my ears to my dusty soul
and blow.

I, clay-jar, am
cracked. Scratched. Divoted. Grand
Canyons that leak. But, Lord, if
my scars leak out,
might they leak in?
If I am not air tight,
might your breath
sneak in?

Can scars be glory?
Can glory leave scars?
I will run to my heart’s end.
Enlarge my heart.
Might your scarred love
love the scarred?
Let your scarred hands
leave scars.
Blow. Blow hard enough
to dislodge the dust.
Even if it takes a hurricane.
Even if it leaves scars.

NO SCAR
By Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die, and rent
by ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound, no scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

LEST WE FORGET
By Amy Carmichael

Home of our hearts, lest we forget
What our redemption meant to Thee,
Let our most reverent thoughts be set
Upon Thy Calvary.

We, when we suffer, turn and toss
And seek for ease, and seek again;
But Thou upon Thy bitter cross
Wast firmly fixed in pain.

And in our night star-clusters shine,
Flowers comfort us, and joy of song;
No star, no flower, no song was Thine,
But darkness three hours long.

We in our lesser mystery,
Of lingering ill, and winged death,
Would fain see clear; but could we see,
What need would be for faith?

O Lord beloved, Thy Calvary
Stills all our questions. Come, oh come,
Where children wandering wearily
Have not yet found their home.

EASTER LILY, A POEM
By Tinuviel

In unseen Saturday silence
Petals unfurl,
Mute trumpets crying out
With rolled-away stone: 

“Take hope! Take heart!
Why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here; He is risen! 

“Your trust, your toil,
His promise are not vain.
Death will be swallowed up in victory.
This body of death, This broken life,
This night of tears are not the end. 

“At last trumpet’s fanfare
Dead shall be raised,
Dustless, Deathless, Glorious.” 

White heralds soundless sound:
“Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”
Hallelujah!

AMORETTI LXVII: MOST GLORIOUS LORD OF LIFE
By Edmund Spenser

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day,
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin:
And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.

And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again:
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

LOVE’S AS WARM AS TEARS
By C.S. Lewis

Love’s as warm as tears,
Love is tears:
Pressure within the brain,
Tension at the throat,
Deluge, weeks of rain,
Haystacks afloat,
Featureless seas between
Hedges, where once was green.

Love’s as fierce as fire,
Love is fire:
All sorts – infernal heat
Clinkered with greed and pride,
Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
Laughing, even when denied,
And that empyreal flame
Whence all loves came.

Love’s as fresh as spring,
Love is spring:
Bird-song hung in the air,
Cool smells in a wood,
Whispering, “Dare! Dare!”
To sap, to blood,
Telling “Ease, safety, rest,
Are good; not best.”

Love’s as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and His.

~C.S. Lewis, Poems, (1964)

RESURRECTION SUNDAY, 1
By Joseph Carlson

The trumpet blast! The bells in Church tow’rs rings.
The cymbals crash! The hosts in Heaven sing.
Now let the nations all, their praises bring-
For Christ the risen Lord has conquered death!

The sun has risen from the darksome night;
He spreads his rays and on us casts his light.
A new day dawns on blind men, giving sight,
For Christ the risen Lord has conquered death!

Where is thy biting sting, O conquered death?
O grave, thy victory that stifles breath?
The sting and victory of death are gone-
Destroyed in that bright morning’s breaking dawn.

As all God’s children sing out loud and long,
Let Church bells ring out clear their ageless song.

RESURRECTION SUNDAY, 2
By Joseph Carlson

I hold an old gnarled seed in my gnarled hand.
Above the earth, it cannot hope to live.
Above the earth, it nothing has to give.
But plant that old gnarled seed, and watch the land.
One day my old gnarled hand will till no more;
Though much it gives, the best has not yet come;
Though much it sees, it has not seen its home,
But plant my gnarled hand, and watch as before.
Both seed and hand must die for them to grow;
Both must descend and find their homely grave.
For this world’s dirt has now been built to save
The dead, and raise the hands and seeds you sow.

O grave, O death, where is thy biting sting?
Our Jesus rose and has become our king.

EASTER
By Jason Farley

If it’s true,
Why do we live like we do?

Excerpts from THE HEEL-STONE
By Jason Farley

Wars and seed and bruises.
Our God promised us
wars and seeds and bruises.

But we would win
in the end.
The dragon’s curse—our promise—
is a man with a heel.
A seed with a heel.
A dragon skull crushed.

The ground remembered all of the blood from Abel.
The ground remembered all of the blood to Zechariah.
The ground knew the dead’s taste.
The ground swallowed up our dragon-slayer.
Life’s an unfamiliar flavor.
The Son of God was manifested,
to destroy the devil’s works.
Took on mortal flesh:
That, through death, he might destroy
him that had death’s power.
That death might swallow Death.
Dragon skulls echo when they crack.
Wars and seed and bruises.
The God of peace went to war.
Children of the God of Peace
now playing in the asp den.
The God of peace may soon crush Satan.
May soon crush Satan
underneath your feet.

JESUS IS THE BEAUTIFUL GATE
(Acts 3)
By Jason Farley

Jesus is the Beautiful Gate
through whom we walk and laugh and leap
into the presence of God the choreographer.

We join the sphere-dance like kings.
Join the sun, leaping and dancing,
covered lightly in light.

As Christ’s Life-Word
bubbles and leaps—alive in the dance—
within us. Stopped springs suddenly re-dug.

De-roof my heart.
Let down this paralyzed soul
to wind up a bucket of living water

To pour it out in sermon-song.
To un-dry the desert dust
that this cactus might fruit, might flower.

That it might be poured to fill the trough
of young calves, freed from their stalls
to walk and laugh and leap.

I GOT ME FLOWERS
By George Herbert

I got me flowers to strew Thy way,
I got me boughs off many a tree;
But Thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st Thy sweets along with Thee.

The sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume,
If they should offer to contest
With Thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.

EASTER HERALDS
by Amos Russel Wells

Who came from the tomb
When Jesus came,
To scatter our gloom
With his living name?
‘Twas the angel Hope,
Whose sunbeams go
To the farthest scope
Of our darkest woe.
Hope came from the tomb
When the Saviour came.

Who came from the tomb
When Jesus came,
In the bursting bloom
Of a world aflame?
It was Joy, the angel,
Who sang and sang
Till the glad evangel
Through the wide world rang.
Joy came from the tomb
When the Saviour came.

Who came from the tomb
When Jesus came
From the conquered doom
Of our sin and shame?
It was Love, supreme
Of the angel host,
And her graces gleam
Where we need them most.
Love came from the tomb
When the Saviour came.

Easter Hymn
by A. E. Housman

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.

But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,
At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.

EASTER DAY
by Oscar Wilde

The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.

Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.

My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
‘Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,
And bruise my feet, and drink wine salt with tears.’

SEE WHAT A MORNING
By Keith Getty

See, what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light
As the angels announce, “Christ is risen!”

See God’s salvation plan
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow, she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!

This voice that spans the years
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us
Will sound ’til He appears
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority!

And we are raised with Him
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

And we are raised with Him
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

Merriest Christmas

Merriest of Christmases to you, my friends! From my family of gingers, we wish you many blessings as the hope of Advent ushers us into the joy of Christmas! We look forward to the light of coming Epiphany, for the light of the nations has come. Sing loud, sing long, sing with gladness ~ sing of this joy, come to all the world!

“Then let us all with one accord,
sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
[who] hath made heav’n and earth of nought,
And with His blood mankind hath bought!”

“Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!”