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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent Journey: Day 10, Beauty

Beauty


Beauty.  It is everywhere around us during this time of year.  Beauty in the songs, beauty in the snow, beauty in the lights, beauty in scenes of the nativity...  I am continually captivated by Christmas beauty, year after year.  Just the simple things like greenery and garland, holly and berries, and snow-kissed evergreens make my spirit so alive and filled with gratitude to God.  When December comes around, somehow I always feel like a child again.  Advent makes me enjoy life as if I were a little girl, delighting in songs and snowmen and santa's reindeer.  


I wasn't quite sure what to specifically write in today's Advent blog about beauty, and then Jamie started humming one of my favorite hymns- one I am planning, Lord-willing, to record this coming year.  Folliott S. Pierpoint was only 29 years old when he penned the words to the timeless hymn, "For the Beauty of the Earth".  He was walking around his hometown in England in 1864, mesmerized by the beauty surrounding him, and inspiration came to his soul to write this profound text.  As a songwriter, I can so relate to beauty being one of the greatest sources of inspiration.  Creation's splendor captures my attention over and over again, and the songs come when I least expect.  I can't tell you how many of my songs have been been birthed out of the simple and sheer beauty around me- beauty that draws my attention toward the Lord and calls my heart to worship.


This hymn was originally a Eucharistic Hymn for the Anglican Church, and I love how Christ-centered the refrain was that Pierpoint wrote. It has been altered to be more generic, but I have decided to keep the original text when I record it for my hymns album.  I love reading about the stories behind old hymns, and trying to investigate the original text.  I've had a difficult time pinning down the exact original verses to this one with my small amount of research, but I have to say that this verse is my favorite and one that I have often done as a medley with the Christmas song I wrote, "King of Love".  You can hear the medley below in the youtube link (Thanks to David Booze for his guitar on that recording! And thanks to Abby Santiago who came up with the original idea of combining the two songs to create the medley!  Oh how I miss playing with some of my favorite musician in the world...my dear Delaware crew!)

For Thyself best Gift Divine
To the world so freely given.
For that great, great love of Thine.
Peace on earth and joy in Heav'n.



As you read the words below, may they call your attention to embrace the beauty around you today and tomorrow, and spur you on to worship our Creator, Savior, and Living God.  Let beauty abound all around us and in our hearts this Christmas!  May we offer a living sacrifice of praise to Christ our God (Romans 12:1).

For the beauty of the earth,
   For the beauty of the skies,
For the Love which from our birth
   Over and around us lies:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For the beauty of each hour
   Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
   Sun and moon and stars of light:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
   For the heart and brain's delight,
For the mystic harmony
   Linking sense to sound and sight:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For the joy of human love,
   Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above;
   For all gentle thoughts and mild:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For each perfect Gift of Thine
   To our race so freely given,
Graces human and Divine,
   Flowers of earth, and buds of Heaven:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For Thy Bride that evermore
   Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
   This Pure Sacrifice of Love:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For Thy Martyrs' crown of light,
   For Thy Prophets' eagle eye,
For Thy bold Confessors' might,
   For the lips of Infancy:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

For Thy Virgins' robes of snow,
   For Thy Maiden Mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
   Jesu, Victim undefiled,

Offer we at Thine own Shrine
Thyself, sweet Sacrament Divine.