A Hymn Text for the First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Even though it would not be possible this year to sing my hymn text intended for use with the readings assigned to the First Sunday of Advent, Year A, in the post-Vatican II Lectionary for Mass, I would still like to offer it to those reading the Pray Tell blog for meditation in this first week of Advent. It may be helpful to recall last Sunday’s readings as they form the basis for this “hymn of the day.” I have paired the text with an Irish traditional 76.76.D. tune called DURROW, but other tunes in the same meter could be tried. Please note that the hymn text is copyrighted by The Jan Michael Joncas Trust and published by Oregon Catholic Press in Within Our Hearts Be Born. The Michael Joncas Hymnary: Advent and Christmas with all rights reserved. (I hope to post hymn texts for the next three Sundays of Advent on the Fridays of the week preceding.)

We read the ancient vision
within the ancient books
that swords be turned to plowshares
and spears to pruning hooks,
that warring hearts turn gentle,
and peace should grace our land:
The long, dark night is ending;
the daystar is at hand.

Yet how can we stay hopeful
while counting up our dead,
while wars and insurrections
remain our daily bread,
while in the heart’s deep chambers
we strive against the light,
the long, dark night embracing
the daystar not in sight.

When we conspire with evil,
trade righteousness for lies,
committing deeds of darkness,
sleepwalking through our lives,
God’s word sounds to arouse us,
to open slumbering eyes:
“The long, dark night is ending:
the daystar will arise.”

When nations bristle conflict,
when pacts are torn and tossed,
negotiations falter,
and hope itself seems lost,
the prophet’s voice still echoes
within our longing ears:
“The long, dark night is ending,
the daystar drawing near.

So come, O God of visions,
to heal our world of pain.
Come, rouse us from our slumber,
stir up our hope again,
renew our faltering courage
and help us to believe
the long, dark night is ending,
your Daystar to receive.

(I hope to post hymn texts for the next three Sundays of Advent on the Fridays of the week preceding.)


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