NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 12/19

A little background...   Christmas is just days away! In the prayer of the church, there are special introductory verses sung at Evening Prayer, each naming a particular "title" of the Lord whose coming again we await, each verse beginning with "O...." We are familiar with these special verses because they constitute the lyrics of the 7 verses of the well known Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!"   (More info here!)

The third of the antiphons is, "O Root of Jesse"  ....  Say what?  Here's the scoop! Jesse was the father of King David and this antiphon refers to the blessing of the Messiah that would come from the "house (the lineage) of David."  Isaiah had prophesied that “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom, whom the nations shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:1-10). You can see, then, why Christians identify Jesus  (born in David's town of Bethlehem!) as the shoot, the flower, that blossomed, on Jesse's vine...

Come, flower of Jesse's tree
and graft me to your branch of life
shooting up from roots 
so ancient, deep and strong...
Come, flower of Jesse's tree
and bloom with beauty in my heart:
the fragrance of your presence,
sweet with mercy and forgiveness... 
Come, born of Jesse's line,  
Child born of David's house
(O little town of Bethlehem)
my soul your dwelling now... 

Come, root me in your grace
and plant me deep within your heart:
come prune whatever stunts my growth
and harvest me for others' joy...

Protect me, Lord while I'm awake
watch over me while I'm asleep:
awake, let me keep watch with you
and sleeping, find my peace in you...



Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming
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