Monday, January 15, 2018

Because it is Right

“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency asks the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?

But, conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
   and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
   but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
   is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
   whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Psalm 119:105-112

Nun (N) XIV

Your word is a lamp for my steps
and a light for my path.
I have sworn and have made up my mind
to obey your decrees.

Lord, I am deeply afflicted;
by your word give me life.
Accept, Lord, the homage of my lips
and teach me your decrees.

Though I carry my life in my hands,
I remember your law.
Though the wicked try to ensnare me,
I do not stray from your precepts.

Your will is my heritage for ever,
the joy of my heart.
I set myself to carry out your will
in fullness, for ever.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Good Reminder

“A heart full of love loves the commandments and the more difficult it seems, the more sweet and pleasing they become because it pleases the Beloved and gives Him more honor.”
~St. Francis de Sales

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
~Ephesians 4:29-32 (re-post)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Will We Make Of 2018?

“We are at the beginning of a new year, 2018. We should ask ourselves whatever became of the prefix A.D., for Anno Domini meaning In the Year of Our Lord, which for many centuries introduced the number of each year in the predominantly Christian Western world. In ancient Mediterranean civilizations, it was common to number years from the beginning of the Olympic Games, from the beginning of a king’s reign, from the founding of Rome, from the conquest of Rome, or from some other major event that was recognized across national and cultural boundaries. Christ’s followers recognized him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords with all authority in heaven and on earth (Revelation 17:14; 19:16; Matthew 28:18). Since he was more important than any other person, and his birth, life, death, and resurrection were more important than any other event in history, it followed that there could be no better basis for numbering our years. Eventually, the calendar was made to reflect this. It doesn’t matter that the calculated Calendar Year One might be about four to six years off from the actual year of Jesus’s birth. What matters is that our traditional Western calendar, counting from what was believed to be the year of Jesus’s birth, reflects a recognition that Jesus Christ was, and is, the central figure in all of history.

As society has become more secularized and public reminders of Christianity have become marginalized, we should make a conscious effort to think of 2018 as the Year of Our Lord. It is his year whether we recognize it or not, and this is true of every year. But if we do acknowledge Christ’s place in history and in our own lives, then we will find ourselves with a new ability to focus on the purpose that God has given us, and the rest of life will begin to move into its proper perspective. This is true newness, not just of the new calendar year but of the new heart of man: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’ (II Corinthians 5:17)(ESV).

The beginning of a new year gives us a symbolic opportunity to mark the passing of the old and to look ahead. But the renewal of one’s soul and the growth of one’s character do not result from a mere calendar change. They require acknowledgment and disavowal of our waywardness, followed by a return to God, accepting his grace in Christ. It requires each of us to make a decision about how to live.

This year, starting today, we can decide to do something new. Whether we’ve ever done it before or not, we can set ourselves to becoming what God intended us to be. If we follow the teachings of Christ, if we embody the character qualities, the virtues, that he laid out for us, and if we make the Kingdom of God our primary goal, our telos, then with the aid of the Holy Spirit we will move toward fulfilling the nature that God created in us. We will flourish. We will be happy. Because we will have learned that, contrary to Aristotle’s view, happiness itself is not the goal but is a side effect of the goal that God set for each of us.
~Robert Higgason

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Slavery of the Mind

“...What I mean by the slavery of the mind is that state in which men do not know of the alternative. It is something which clogs the imagination, like a drug or a mesmeric sleep, so that a person cannot possibly think of certain things at all. It is not the state in which he says, ‘I see what you mean; but I cannot think that because I sincerely think this’ (which is simply rational): it is one in which he has never thought of the other view; and therefore does not even know that he has never thought of it. ... The thing I mean is a man’s inability to state his opponent’s view; and often his inability even to state his own.

Curiously enough, I find this sort of thing rather specially widespread in our age, which claims to possess a popular culture or enlightenment. There is everywhere the habit of assuming certain things, in the sense of not even imagining the opposite things. For instance, as history is taught, nearly everybody assumes that in all important past conflicts, it was the right side that won. Everybody assumes it; and nobody knows that he assumes it. The man has simply never seriously entertained the other notion. ...

...What I complain of is that those who accept the verdict of fate in this way accept it without knowing why. By a quaint paradox, those who thus assume that history always took the right turning are generally the very people who do not believe there was any special providence to guide it. ...”
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Seeking God

“This then is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; to cultivate an intellectual freedom from the images of created things in order to receive the secret contact of God in obscure love; to love all men as myself...”
~Thomas Merton

Monday, January 8, 2018

You Must Not Doubt

“‘Poor? Even if what you say is true, Rose, it does not matter, for in your failure you may bring about a greater harvest for souls than if your work is praised throughout your nation and beyond. Perhaps the failure is a necessary sacrifice. Will there be a soul one day, I wonder, who happens to stop before a painting of yours and is struck a gentle blow in his heart? Will the Holy Spirit then speak to him, because of the word you have made flesh for his eyes to see? Will he perhaps turn to God and consider the impossible question?’

‘What question, ma Mere?’

‘Is God, after all, what he says he is? If he does ask this, God will answer him. This I believe. You must not doubt it. You may never see it; you may never know for certain; it may occur far from where you live or long after your death. But, because you existed, it will occur. You came into being, and you stood firm in the cold dark places of the world, you continued to walk through the forest in winter even when all bearings seemed lost.’

...Rose returned home with a feeling of intense purpose, went straight to her studio and stared at the piles of pine cones, maple keys, wasp nests, and other treasures she had retrieved from the parks throughout the city. The pine cones spiraled inviolate on their stems. Some of the weed wings were broken, and the hive was ripped a little. Each life is like this, she said to herself. Some are burned and some are blind, and some see, and some do not see, but all are part of the texture, and the texture is beloved, for it is part of the form that the Beating Heart has made.

Then she inscribed on the canvas a drawing of the blind girl and her friend. And on another canvas the burned boy who had only eyes. She worked all night, alternating between both...”
~Michael O’Brien (from the novel A Cry of Stone)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

O Thou Who By A Star Didst Guide

O Thou Who by a star didst guide
The wise men on their way,
Until it came and stood beside
The place where Jesus lay.

Although by stars Thou dost not lead
Thy servants now below,
Thy Holy Spirit, when they need,
Will show them how to go.

As yet we know Thee but in part;
But still we trust Thy Word,
That blessèd are the pure in heart,
For they shall see the Lord.

O Savior, give us then Thy grace
To make us pure in heart,
That we may see Thee face to face
Hereafter, as Thou art.

~Words: John Neale & Music: Arthur Cottman

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Spotless Mirror

Wisdom is the refulgence of eternal light,
    the spotless mirror of the power of God,
    the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
    and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
    she produces friends of God and prophets.
~Wisdom 7:26-27

Friday, January 5, 2018

Search for Truth

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
~Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Prepare Yourselves

“My last advice to you is that you, above all other concerns, prepare yourselves, [with God’s assistance], for your future, Eternal state. You will all shortly be as near Eternity as I now am, and will then view both worldly and spiritual things in the same light in which I do now view them. You will then see all wordly things to be but shadows, but vapours, but vanity of vanities, and the things of the Spiritual world to be of importance beyond all description. You will then be sensible that the pleasures of a good conscience, and the happiness of the near prospect of Heaven, infinitely outweighs all the Riches, Pleasure, and Honor of this mean, sinful world.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on me, and receive my spirit.”
~Moses Dunbar

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Travel Light

“As a kid I used to be fascinated by people who, like they say, ‘traveled light.’ My father died when I was very young, but there were things of his left in the house that my mother kept as evidences of his life: his bag, for example, his surgical instruments, even his prescription pads. These things were not only relics of his person, but what was interesting to me was that this instrumentation was peculiarly contained in this thing that he could carry in his hand. The doctor’s ‘bag.’ One thinks of the idiom that is so current now, ‘bag,’ to be in this or that ‘bag.’ The doctor’s bag was an absolutely explicit instance of something you carry with you and work out of. As a kid, growing up without a father, I was always interested in men who came to the house with specific instrumentation of that sort—carpenters, repairmen—and I was fascinated by the idea that you could travel in the world that way with all that you needed in your hands ... a Johnny Appleseed. All of this comes back to me when I find myself talking to people about writing. The scene is always this: ‘What a great thing! To be a writer! Words are something you can carry in your head. You can really ‘travel light.’”
~Robert Creeley

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

For the New Year, 1981

I have a small grain of hope—
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment
to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source—
clumsy and earth-covered—
of grace.

~Denise Levertov

Monday, January 1, 2018

Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Creator Spirit)

O Holy Spirit, by whose breath
Life rises vibrant out of death,
Come to create, renew, inspire;
Come, kindle in our hearts your fire.

You are the seeker's sure resource,
Of burning love the living source,
Protector in the midst of strife,
The giver and the Lord of life.

In you God's energy is shown,
To us your varied gifts made known.
Teach us to speak, teach us to hear;
Yours be the tongue and yours the ear.

Flood our dull senses with your light;
In mutual love our hearts unite.
Your power the whole creation fills;
Confirm our weak, uncertain wills.

From inner strife grant us release;
Turn nations to the ways of peace.
To fuller life your people bring
That as one body we may sing:

Praise to the Father, Christ, his Word,
And to the Spirit: God the Lord,
To whom all honor, glory be
Both now and for eternity. Amen.

~Rabanus Maurus (776-856)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

~Words: Frances Havergal & Music: Samuel Wesley

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Psalm 98(97) Cantate Domino

1 (A psalm.)
Sing the Lord a new song, a song of wonder at his doings; how his own right hand, his own holy arm, brought him victory.
2 The Lord has given proof of his saving power, has vindicated his just dealings, for all the nations to see;
3 has remembered his gracious promise, and kept faith with the house of Israel; no corner of the world but has witnessed how our God can save.
4 In God’s honour let all the earth keep holiday; let all be mirth and rejoicing and festal melody!
5 Praise the Lord with the harp, with harp and psaltery’s music;
6 with trumpets of metal, and the music of the braying horn! Keep holiday in the presence of the Lord, our King;
7 the sea astir, and all that the sea holds, the world astir, and all that dwell on it;
8 the rivers echoing their applause, the hills, too, rejoicing to see the Lord come. He comes to judge the earth; brings the world justice, to every race of men its due award. (KNOX)

Friday, December 29, 2017

This is Christmas

“My dear friends, that is Christmas—that a hand from above reaches into our lives and touches our hearts. That is Christmas, not the other things. My friends, believe it, we have to suffer a lot and hang on. Only then is it Christmas.

Christmas is not a sweet fairytale for little children—for happy nurseries . . . Christmas is serious—so serious—that men gladly—die for it. —Tell everyone—many things have to change—first—here—inside . . .

Christmas means that God—touches us,—that He—grasps our hands—and lays them—on—His—heart. —That God comes—to us—and sets us free. —Tell everyone—the other isn’t Christmas,—only this—is—Christmas,—that—God—is—with—us.”

~Alfred Delp (from The Eternal Advent, a play)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Christmas Hymn

A stable-lamp is lighted
  Whose glow shall wake the sky;
    The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
  And straw like gold shall shine;
    A barn shall harbor heaven,
A stall become a shrine.

This child through David’s city
  Shall ride in triumph by;
    The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
  Though heavy, dull, and dumb,
    And lie within the roadway
To pave His kingdom come.

Yet He shall be forsaken,
  And yielded up to die;
    The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
  For stony hearts of men:
    God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s love refused again.

But now, as at the ending,
  The low is lifted high;
    The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
  In praises of the child
    By whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.

~Richard Wilbur

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Nativity of Christ

Behold the father is his daughter’s son,
The bird that built the nest is hatched therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The Word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.
O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs,
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.
Gift better than himself God doth not know;
Gift better than his God no man can see.
This gift doth here the giver given bestow;
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, himself he freely gave me;
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.
Man altered was by sin from man to beast;
Beast’s food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh.
Now God is flesh and lies in manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein this fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

~Robert Southwell

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Birth of a Child

(Picture found here)
The topic here is the birth of a child—
not the revolutionary deed of a strong man,
not the bold discovery of a wise person,
not the godly work of a saint.

It really goes beyond all comprehension:
the birth of a child is supposed to lead
to the great turning point of all things and
to bring the salvation and redemption of all humanity.

What kings and leaders of nations, philosophers and artists,
founders of religions and teachers of morals
have tried in vain to do—
that now happens through a newborn child.

That is the mystery of the redemption of the world;
everything past and everything future is encompassed here.
The infinite mercy of the almighty God comes to us,
descends to us in the form of a child, his Son.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, December 25, 2017

Angels From The Realms Of Glory

(Picture found here)
Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

~Words: James Montgomery & Music: Henry Smart

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Cold, Tired, and Scared

“I love Nativity scenes—but I also find them irritating. Our house is resplendent with more than half a dozen from Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East; all colorful and joyful; they brighten up every dark corner of our house and dark recess of our minds. But, like I said, they also can infuriate me. They are too clean, too bright, too warm and nuzzling. That serene smile on every Mary, the glowing eyes of every Joseph, the bubbly, happy baby, sometimes are just too much. That wasn’t the way it possibly could have been. Sometimes I wish for a real manger scene, with the donkey braying and the sheep bleating and even the camels spitting. I can see the tired old man wondering what he had gotten himself into and the young girl frightened for her young babe and herself. All of them shivering in the cold and the dark. And the sound of the animals so loud and dissonant that the baby keeps waking in tears, and the mother tries vainly to soothe him back to sleep. And then the shepherds arrive, smelly, sly, ignorant, wanting to see this strange phenomenon they are drawn to beyond their comprehension. And the mother now worried about how to cope with a crying infant and so many unexpected guests—she was a Jewish mother after all! I like this starker nativity scene because it is more like what we all go through and certainly what the poor and discarded experience every day. I like the thought that every broken person, every young scared and scarred mother, every confused and weary father, every destitute and despairing family, can identify with and appreciate that small family of three searching desperately for shelter 2000 years ago. No more than refugees—internally displaced people as we bureaucratically describe them today—struggling just to get to tomorrow, with no thought of grander or sweeter days ahead. For so many of the poor and broken to embrace life and joy under such circumstances is itself a daily miracle that humbles me. And so maybe in a deeper sense and at the risk of contradicting myself, the ‘cleaned-up’ Nativity scene gets it exactly right: Underneath all the dirt and noise there is a serene smile of a young mother despite the worries, there are warm glowing eyes of an old father despite his exhaustion, and there is a babe bursting with life and joy despite being hungry and cold. They may have been a ‘holy family,’ but they were also a ‘wholly human family.’”
~Joseph Mussomeli

Saturday, December 23, 2017

James 5:7-8, 9b

Be patient, my brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil. He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and the spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. See! The judge stands at the gate.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Silence and Waiting

“We are silent in the early hours of each day,
because God is supposed to have the first word,
and we are silent before going to sleep,
because to God also belongs the last word.

We are silent solely for the sake of the word,
not in order to show dishonor to the word
but in order to honor and receive it properly.

Silence ultimately means nothing
but waiting for God’s word
and coming away blessed by God’s word.


Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent:
one waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other—
things that are really of no consequence—
the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.”

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letter from Bonhoeffer at Tegel prison to Eberhard Bethge, November 21, 1943)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

See, Amid The Winter's Snow

See, amid the winter's snow,
Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption's happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits among the cherubim.


Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?


"As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light:
Angels singing 'Peace On Earth'
Told us of the Saviour's birth."


Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.


Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.


~Words: Edward Caswall & Music: John Goss

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Into Solitude

We descend into solitude step by step
further and further down stanzas of verses
into depths never expected
determined to live without poor substitutes
in a cruel and impossible purity
there at the very bottom to regain
all those who huddle
at the gate of this wide-open emptiness
grandmothers aunts and uncles already forgotten
strangers who once crossed a courtyard
someone out of work who knocked on the window
someone passed by on a footbridge
the dead the living it doesn’t matter
the beautiful boy who stood below the pulpit
looking like an angel almost an angel
and the one who hit me on the forehead with a stone
where a mark still remains
and the washerwoman who reappeared at our home like Kronos
and went away bent under the weight of the laundry basket
the wagon-driver with whom I danced at the harvest festival
and Someone else was there a carpenter or a woodworker
who placed a hand on my forehead
and said Don’t be afraid
with me no one is lonely

~Anna Kamieńska

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Forerunner

“It was John’s mission—and greatness—to proclaim the advent of the kingdom. Nor was he in any way unworthy to do so, he who ‘even from his mother’s womb’ was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15). It could only mean that his particular vocation was to lead the way to the promised realm, to direct others to it, but in some special sense to remain without. One is reminded of Moses close to death, standing on Mount Nebo and looking down on the Promised Land. He is not allowed to enter. Not until he has passed through death does he come into the true land of promise (Deut. 34:1–6). For Moses this was punishment; he had failed in an hour of trial. For John it was not punishment but vocation. Everything in him cried out to be with Christ, in that kingdom of God about to dawn in Messianic abundance, ushering in the new creation. For us its bliss is unimaginable, but for the prophet, who had felt it deeply, it was the object of his most powerful longing. Yet he was not allowed to enter. No psychology, indeed no one who has not personally penetrated deep into the mystery of the divine will, can explain this. This side of death, John was to remain Precursor: herald of the kingdom.”
~Romano Guardini

Monday, December 18, 2017


(Picture found here)
Celebrating Advent means being able to wait.
Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten.

Those who do not know how it feels to anxiously struggle
with the deepest questions of life, of their life,
and to patiently look forward with anticipation
until the truth is revealed,
cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment
in which clarity is illuminated for them.

And for those who do not want to win the friendship
and love of another person—
who do not expectantly open up their soul
to the soul of the other person,
until friendship and love come,
until they make their entrance—
for such people the deepest blessing of the one life
of two intertwined souls will remain forever hidden.

Whoever does not know
the austere blessedness of waiting—
that is, of hopefully doing without—
will never experience
the full blessing of fulfillment.

For the greatest,
most profound,
tenderest things in the world,
we must wait.

It happens here not in a storm
but according to the divine laws
of sprouting, growing,
and becoming.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Spotless Rose

A spotless Rose is growing
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers’ foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter
And in the dark midnight.

The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said,
Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid; 
For through our God’s great love and might
The blessed babe she bare us
In a cold, cold winter’s night.

~Words: Anonymous (15th Century German carol); Translated to English by Catherine Winkworth & Music: Michael Praetorius, Speier Gesangbuch, 1599