Advent means “coming”. We get our word from the Latin “adventus” which is a translation of the Greek “parousia”, which is commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For followers of Jesus, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.
This year, I want to share a few of the hymns that my family sing to help us focus on the season and bring us closer to the King of Kings who humbled himself to save us all from our rebellious hearts.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and I want to share a song that beautifully combines both perspectives of our anticipation.
“Of the Father’s Love Begotten” is based on a Latin poem whose form that is in most hymnals today, was translated by John Mason Neale in 1851.
The original poem was a treatise against a heresy within the church during the life of its author, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348-c. 413). During his lifetime, the Arian heresy was alive and well. There were many Christians who believed that before his incarnation, Jesus was created by God and therefore Jesus did not exist through all time. Jesus was a creature (“created being”) that, though divine, was not equal to the Father.Prudentius, who was a lawyer and eventually became a judge, used his legal skills to pen in poetic form what would eventually become the orthodox understanding of the Trinity.
1. Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!2. This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!3. O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Saviour of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!4. O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!5. Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honour, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. (Psalm 2:7)
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43)
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. (Psalm 98:1)
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:9-14)