Right now, the season of Advent is upon us, and it’s one of my favorites. Our hymns have a much more Hebraic focus than the rest of the year. They are full of rich prophecies about God’s promises to redeem Israel, and through them bring redemption to the world.
Listen to these lines from O Come All Ye Faithful:
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud, and majesty, and awe.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Or Comfort, Comfort Now my People, which comes from Isaiah 40:
Comfort, comfort now my people;
tell of peace!” So says our God.
“Comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning under sorrow’s load.
To my people now proclaim
that my pardon waits for them!
Tell them that their sins I cover,
and their warfare now is over.”
For the herald’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
calling us to true repentance,
since the reign of God is here.
O, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise in meeting
and the hills bow down in greeting.
Straight shall be what long was crooked,
and the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits God’s holy…