Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.
It’s the first Sunday of Advent,
time to sing carols in church,
time to light the first candle of five.
This morning we sang
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”
I love the lyrics,
which aren’t just for Christmastime.
Read them again.
These aren’t sappy holiday sentiments.
This is the real stuff of life for every day.
Love. Sadness. Forgiveness.
Doubt. Praise. Strife.
Triumph. Darkness. Light.
I was thinking today,
even before I sang this carol,
that I need to “march onward” and
move forward in 2015.
move forward in 2015.
I need “big picture” progress
in several areas of life.
Before January comes, though,
getting ready for Christmas
in a busy, busy household
will keep me quite occupied.
I only wish I could say that
doubt, darkness, sadness and strife
never visited our home
at Christmastime or any time.
Like many other families,
sometimes the holidays are hardest.
We’re expected to be jolly.
We don’t always feel like it.
All the more reason
to lay it all aside for a while,
to drink deeply of joy,
to fill my soul with fresh courage.
All the more reason to pause
and adore, praise, worship, and love
the one who made me, redeemed me,
and still comforts and guides me Sunward.
Here is a prayer for the start of Advent,
for when joy and faith don’t come easily.
“Merciful God, always with us:
We confess that we do not know how
to prepare for your Advent.
We have forgotten how to hope in miracles;
we have ignored the promise of your kingdom;
we get distracted by all the busyness of the season.
Forgive us, God.
Grant us the simple wonder of the shepherds,
the intelligent courage of the Magi,
and the patient faith of Mary and Joseph,
that we may journey with them to Bethlehem
and find the good news of a child born for us.
Now, in the quiet of our hearts,
we ask You to make us ready for His coming.
More posts for Advent in real life:
- A Bittersweet Advent
- What You Can Do to Make the Holiday Season a Little Merrier for Others
- Christmas, The Gift of Joy
- Beating Holiday Blues and Stress
- Third Sunday of Advent: “What Sweeter Music” with Paintings by Giotto
- Come, Oh Redeemer Come (How to Carry Advent into the New Year)
- War and Peace
More hymns for the season
from last year’s Advent series:
A Few of My Advent Poems:
- The Story Did Not Start with a Stable and a Star
- Shepherd’s Tale
- The Paradox
- Invitation to Stillness
God bless you!