Scripture: Luke 2:22-40 (NRSV)
Praise God from whom all blessing flow, praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father (and Creator and Mother), Son (Redeemer and Friend) and Holy Ghost (Sustainer and Comforter)! Hallelujah Amen!
The sound rang through the chapel at Newcomer Center on the Goshen College campus very early Sunday morning, Nov. 16, 2014. Gathered in this space shortly after 1 a.m. were about 100 people: students, faculty, staff, community members, young and old, liberal and conservative. For the 30 hours prior to this final song, a small group of students sang straight through “Hymnal: A Worship Book,” the Mennonite and Church of the Brethren hymnal, taking time to sing every verse of every song, 658 songs in total. The group was bolstered by 300 additional singers from the Goshen College community who came and went at all hours of the day and night, singing as they were able, stopping by to drop off food and hot drinks, adding donations to support the global peacemaking work of Christian Peacemaker Teams.
The singers made their way to the Advent/Christmas section of the hymnal in the darkness of the early morning on Saturday, Nov. 17. Extra students groggily rose from their slumber to make their way across campus to join in the singing of the Advent and Christmas section as soon as the texts and emails went out informing peers that “Christmas is about to begin!” Into the darkness of the morning hours they came and they sang “Come, thou long expected Jesus,” “Comfort, Comfort O my People,” and “‘Twas in the moon of wintertime.” And while it was still dark and cold, the weary singers joined their voices and proclaimed: “To Us a Child of Hope is Born!”
Into a cold and dark world, may we all find the courage, the conviction and the resourcefulness to venture forth into the night and add our voices to the peace-filled chorus of love that calls to us anew each Christmas.
Thank you for joining with the Goshen College community through this season of Advent. We wish each of you many moments filled with hope and light as you live into the full meaning of the incarnation in these days. Join us again in February as Goshen College students, faculty and staff offer daily reflections in the days and weeks leading up to Easter. And in the meantime, sing on!
Scripture: Luke 2:22-40 (NRSV)
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lords Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. 33And the childs father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealedand a sword will pierce your own soul too. 36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.