Happy New Year!
Today we began the new church year, evocatively called Year B (to distinguish it from years A and C, of course). Year B focuses on Mark’s gospel, which I love. It might even be my favorite–although, as my friend Jan says, each one is my favorite when that’s the one we’re reading. (Pro Tip: Except, in my case, for Matthew. That poor evangelist is almost nobody’s favorite.)
We begin the year with Advent, when we prepare for Christmas with fabulous blue paraments, Advent wreaths, nativities, and of course, Advent hymns. These are some of my very favorites, and we sang some great ones today (I admit it: I picked them, so I am a little biased).
Usually, I would say that my favorite favorite is “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers”, which we sang this morning. But we also sang “Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying”, and guess what? It might be my favoritest favorite this year.
The words! The music! Philipp Nicolai, you make me swoon. We should hang out, you beautiful sixteenth century hymn writer, you. I mean, really. Check out stanza two:
Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and in her heart new joy is springing.
She wakes, she rises from her gloom,
for her Lord comes down all glorious,
the strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her star is ris’n; her light is come.
Oh, come, you Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son.
Sing hosana! We go until the halls we view
where you have bid us dine with you.
I wanted to find a sweet, simple version of this, sung just as it appears in the Lutheran Book of Worship, but alas. The best I can find is this admittedly lovely choral version. So listen to that, and then get out your hymnal (it is not exclusively LBW material) and sing yourself a little Advent beauty.
And if you haven’t got a hymnal to hand . . . well, then we know which one of us is the bigger church nerd, don’t we?