Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending 5
“Yea, amen! Let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory;
claim the kingdom for thine own:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.”
As I write this, it is mid-November, but I know my colleagues and I am sure you have been told that Advent is a season of waiting. And we have all experienced more of a season of waiting this year than we wanted: waiting for the virus to fade away, waiting for the election season to end, waiting for a vaccine to be made available, waiting for loved ones who got sick to recover, waiting for our favorite restaurant to be open, waiting for life to return to some sense of normalcy. All these kinds of waiting are legitimate and true, but they are not the kind of waiting the season of Advent is about. Advent is about a joyful expectation, the kind of joyful expectation we had when we were children waiting for Christmas to come as we anticipated the joy of opening presents: that new bicycle, skate board, Game Boy or the Red Ryder Air Rifle!
Every year I experience Advent waiting in my own way, waiting for the hymn that we are basing our Words on this week, “Lo! He comes with clouds descending,” to be sung. It is absolutely my favorite hymn of the season and, since I am no longer in charge of selecting liturgical music, I wait to see if it will be sung in my favorite tune, Helmsly, which is Hymn number 57 in the Hymnal 1982. (If you want to hear a beautiful rendition of this tune, search Google for “Lo! He comes with clouds descending” from the Lichfield Cathedral Choir.)
This year, Pam and I are experiencing the kind of waiting that is more akin to Advent than usual. We are in Ohio helping our daughter Amanda and her family while waiting…waiting for her to deliver our new granddaughter. All who are parents or grandparents have experienced this kind of joyful waiting, knowing that when the blessed event actually happens, everyone’s life will be changed. That is the spirit of Advent: joyful expectation of an event that changed all our lives forever. That is the spirit of the Advent times we live now: waiting for the Savior to come again and bring to completion His Creation; and to bring us, His children, to the fulfillment of His plan for us and the realization of his kingdom here on earth.