Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Lo, how a rose e'er blooming, From tender stem hath sprung. Of Jesse's lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow'ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.” —Anonymous, 15th Century
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1
As a musician, “Lo, How a Rose,” is always so satisfying to play or sing. It’s all about the chords, really. I’ve likely heard hundreds of versions by now, and yet it occurred to me: all of them keep the harmonization more or less the same—the harmonization from 1609! There is something about certain carols that just feel sacred; some of them feel old, as if they were sung by the angels themselves. This carol encapsulates the timelessness of good music, but also the timelessness of a good God. I remember reading the book of Isaiah as an adult and realizing that it was written way before the birth of Jesus. This knowledge made hope spring up in me and I remember thinking: “Maybe it was true...”. Suddenly the whole Bible seemed to glow with Jesus. This carol reminds me of the way our faith transcends time and place, from Jesse to Jesus, even to this moment here, as we sing again of His coming.
Prayer: God of all times and all places, bless us as we remember your Son’s birth again. Make this Christ- mas different; help us to more truly understand all that Isaiah foretold. Help it become real to us, like a bright flower blossoming in the winter of our hearts. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
—Merideth Hite Estevez