Advent 2008 – O Holy Night

For Advent this year, we are taking one carol each week and spending a bit of time with it. We began on Sunday with “O Holy Night.” Here are the English lyrics, which I am familiar with:

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angels’ voices!
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;
Oh night divine, Oh night, Oh night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Behold your King.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

I didn’t realize that this was originally a French poem. The more direct translation is pretty interesting, too:

Midnight, Christians is the solemn hour
When God as Man descended unto us
To erase the original stain (sin)
And end the wrath of his Father.
The entire world trembles with expectation
In this night that gives to us a Savior.
Fall on your knees, await your deliverance.
Noel, Noel, here is the Redeemer,
Noel, Noel, here is the Redeemer!
The redeemer has broken every shackle
The earth is free, and heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was once only a slave
Those who had been chained together by iron, love now unites.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude
It is for every one of us that he was born, suffered and died.
Stand on your feet, sing of your deliverance.
Noel, Noel, sing of the Redeemer,
Noel, Noel, sing of the Redeemer!

Poem: Mary Oliver: The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

From The Writer’s Almanac a few weeks back.

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

Something has happened
to the bread
and the wine.

They have been blessed.
What now?
The body leans forward

to receive the gift
from the priest’s hand,
then the chalice.

They are something else now
from what they were
before this began.

I want
to see Jesus
maybe in the clouds

or on the shore,
just walking,
beautiful man

and clearly
someone else
besides.

On the hard days
I ask myself
if I ever will.

Also there are times
my body whispers to me
that I have.

What Can Samantha Do?

Samantha, Samantha, what can you do?
I can swim a race. Can you?

Samantha, Samantha, what can you do?
I can pick a flower. Can you?

Samantha, Samantha, what can you do?
I can read a book. Can you?

Samantha, Samantha, what can you do?
I can write a story. Can you?

Samantha, Samantha, what can you do?
I can tickle my Daddy. Can you?

(This was part of Samantha’s Language Arts lesson earlier this week. She was re-writing an existing poem that she read earlier in the lesson. I walked in the door for lunch as they were finishing up, which probably had an impact on the end. Now, I’m posting it before Kerri does.)

Poem: To the Great God of Heaven

To the Great God of heaven,
     to the Almighty God of Earth:
I call out in my shame.
     my heart cries out for mercy.
Though I have strayed from Your law
     You will restore me.
You will renew Your covenant to me
     and restore my life to me.
You will have compassion on Your son;
     on Your repentant child You will pour out Your grace.
Why will You remember me?
     Why will You hear my call?
Not because I have brought You pleasure,
     for I have forsaken Your law.
I have turned from it day and night
     looking to my own ways and the ways of men.
Not because I have stood bravely for You.
     I have run from my enemies and cowered in fear.
I have hidden Your Glory under my shame;
     I have kept silent before Your accusers.
Why, then, will You remember me?
     Why will You hear my call?
Because of Your unfailing love,
     Your unending faithfulness.
In Him I am chosen;
     In Him I live.
The blood of Christ covers me like a blanket.
     His righteousness like dew on the morning grass.
You do not hold my sins against me.
     You do not remember my iniquity.

Poem: Short Break

In the long days of August
The plants grow
And we slow
Frozen by the heat of summer sun

Honey memories
Of car trips to grandma’s house
Are slowly sipped with sweet tea
As sweat runs down the side of our glasses
And our cheeks

We breathe in still air
And slowly rise into the clouds
Caught in the web of a mid-afternoon nap
While the children dance in the sprinkler
Toes and water droplets pitter-patter
Splash on the steamy concrete

Sweetest Moon of Fairest June

Sweetest Moon of fairest June,
I watch thee as ye shine
Amidst the sun that is not done
At this the Solstice time.

Orb so pale, a-lit so frail,
Robbed of night to play;
Defiantly refuse to flee
And sneak in on day.

Leave stars behind in summertime;
The night is theirs for now.
The bold blue sky is yours to try
‘Til farmer comes to plow.

For half-score weeks Night’s Orb speaks
and warms the souls of men.
When Autumn comes, she’ll be done
and dwell in dark again.

Holy Sonnet II

Oh, would that I, my own name rejecting,
Be called upon to serve You ever more.
Such toil, indeed, is beyond my reck’ning;
The most arduous tasks, they be not chores,
For the sweat of labour, it does turn sweet.
I, Thy bidding, do only all my days,
And though my muscles ache, I am not weak;
Thou dost grant me life by Thy merest gaze.
Dwelling at Your side, waiting at Your feet,
Would fill my measure, making life complete.

(Don’t bother looking here for Sonnet I. I wrote it, lost it, and have only been able to recall the first line. So, I’m reserving a spot should I ever find or remember it.)