Come, thou Redeemer of the earth.
For the first Sunday of Advent, here is one of my favorite hymns of the season, "Come, thou Redeemer of the Earth." This hymn has its roots in a Latin hymn attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan, Veni Redemptor gentium, which was translated into English by John Mason Neale in the middle of the nineteenth century and set to music borrowed from another old Latin hymn, Puer nobis nascitur. (It also bears mentioning that the tune of Puer nobis nascitur reached nineteenth-century England through a seventeenth-century setting by Michael Praetorius, who is also responsible for one of my favorite Christmas carols.) Had I been ordained to the priesthood during Advent - a season traditionally seen as particularly propitious for ordinations - I almost certainly would have included "Come, thou Redeemer of the Earth" in the music of my first Mass; hopefully those who listen to the hymn will understand why.
The version of "Come, thou Redeemer of the Earth" featured here is performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, who are undisputed masters of this sort of music. If you want to follow along, here are the words:
Come thou Redeemer of the earth,Good wishes to all in this time of preparation. AMDG.
Come, testify thy wondrous birth:
All lands admire, all times applaud:
Such is the birth that fits our God.
Forth from His chamber goeth He,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now His course to run.
From God the Father He proceeds,
To God the Father back He speeds;
Runs out his course to death and hell
Returning on God's high throne to dwell.
O equal to the Father, Thou!
Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.
Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.
All laud eternal Son, to Thee;
Whose advent sets thy people free
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore.