Advent Life and Death
This week’s hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” ponders and celebrates the mystery of the season of Advent. “Emmanuel—God with Us”—How awesome to the young woman Mary!
Her response to the news the son of God would become flesh in her womb is the “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55). “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…The mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name…His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation…”
An Advent Prayer
Mary’s response inspires and invites our own response to the good news of Emmanuel. And our hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” is one such response, as well as an Advent prayer. “O Come, Emmanuel…Free thine own from Satan’s tyranny. From depths of hell thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave. Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
From Life to New Life
The services commemorating the life of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush point to another great Advent theme. Death marks the passage from this life to new life in the presence of God.
Hymns give expression to the mystery, hope and yearning believers have for this new life, promised in scripture and affirmed in the lives of believers past and present.
Four Great Hymns
In the final moments before the interment of president Bush’s body, the tunes of four great hymns sounded awesome prayers. “Holy Holy Holy,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “How Firm a Foundation” and “God of our Fathers” resonated in our hearts.
“Holy, holy holy, Lord God Almighty, I need thee every hour most gracious Lord. How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word!” And “God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band…praise be ever thine!” Amen!