I’ve learned a new song this year through our church choir: “See, amid the Winter’s Snow.” We’re singing it this coming Sunday in our worship service. It’s also known as “Hymn for Christmas Day” and “The Hymn for Christmas.” An English Christmas carol, it was written by Edward Caswall, the son of a pastor who eventually became a monk in the Catholic Church. It was quite new for me, even if it’s an old one which has appeared in numerous hymnals since it was first published in 1871.
What I loved most about the song is the joyously poignant chorus, which punctuates the retelling of the day of Christmas.
Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Singing the tenor part, I have to really stretch to sing the high e that we do in our voice. It literally brings me to raise myself up on my feet in the hopes of “getting up” to the right note. Physically it feels like some sort of invitation to stand, to be on the look out for what is coming, or just beyond our sight. And isn’t that what Advent is about? Looking, listening, leaning in to the joyous hope that God is breaking into our world, building the divine reign, bringing creation towards its redemption through sacrificial love, grace-full presence and a transformative hope that pushes us towards the peaceable kingdom that only God can create. How might I live my days more on the balls of my feet in expectation and anticipation, than settled on my heels standing still?