2020 Advent Devotional – Day 19


What Sweeter Music Can We Bring
Words by Robert Herrick, (1591–1674)

Why does the chilling winter’s morn
Smile like a field beset with corn?

Video: What Sweeter Music Can We Bring


Many of us right now would probably quite like to see December turned to May. With the (northern hemisphere) winter stretching out ahead, the transformation that Robert Herrick wrote of in the seventeenth century is perhaps just as appealing to us in the twenty-first.

Herrick’s carol brings a transformation designed to fill our senses. Not only does night turn into day, but the feeling and smell of a cold winter’s morning take on the rich aroma of a summer’s day, with burgeoning crops and fresh-cut fields. It is an ode to the sweet and fragrant side of life, and balances the carols that we’ve heard so far, which have been mainly filled with light and sound.

Herrick’s words, then, seek to appeal to all our senses and awaken them to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is not just a story to be told and heard, but one to be felt in all our being. Which is so very appropriate for celebrating God’s love, for God’s love is not just to be told and heard, but felt and accepted and embraced down to the very core of ourselves.

This is a love that gives life; one that takes life and puts a sheen and sparkle on it. With God’s love, each day is a gift. Each dawn is a blessing that proclaims hope and renews our strength; each dusk a prayer of peace and comfort, that affirms God’s presence, watching over us like the first star of the night. The birth of Jesus gives us a love that can bring people together, sharing in the joy and support that a community of God’s children can bring.

This is a love to worship fully alive, and to give thanks for by living and loving fully. Embrace the gifts of God today with all your senses and let God’s love abide in every fibre of your body. Alive.

Awakening God,
Reach into my heart and radiate your love throughout my being. Inspire me to feel your gifts in my day. The bracing wind, the softness of snow, the warmth of the sun. Inspire me to feel your gifts in my soul: the bracing inspiration of your Spirit, the softness of your grace, the warmth of the love of your Son. Invigorate me with your hope and bless me with your peace. Renew me each day with your love. Amen.


What Sweeter Music Can We Bring

What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our Heavenly King?
Awake the voice! awake the string!

Dark and dull night fly hence away!
And give the honour to this day
That sees December turn’d to May.

Why does the chilling winter’s morn
Smile like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like to a mead new shorn,
Thus on a sudden?

Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be:
’Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and lustre, public mirth,
To heaven and the under-earth.

If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.


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