First Sunday in Advent

Three cantatas for this Sunday
John Keble, “Advent Sunday
Christopher Wordsworth, Three Hymns for Advent Sunday



Ad te levavi. Psalm 25.
Unto thee, O Lord, lift I up my soul: O my God, in thee have I trusted, let me not be confounded: neither let mine enemies triumph over me; for all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed. Shew me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen. Unto thee, O Lord . . .


ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son, Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.


Romans 13:8–14
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


[Psalm 25] For all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed, O Lord. Make known to me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths


Alleluia, alleluia. [Psalm 85] Shew us thy mercy, O Lord: and grant us thy salvation. Alleluia.


St. Matthew 21:1–13
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.


[Psalm 25] Unto thee, O Lord, lift I up my soul: O my God, in thee have I trusted, let me not be confounded neither let mine enemies triumph over me: for all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed.


[Psalm 85] The Lord shall shew loving-kindness: and our land shall give her increase.

Psalms from the Daily Office

Below are plainsong renditions of the Psalms as published in the Saint Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter. (Missing psalms will be added soon!)


MORNING PRAYER — Psalm 50 (Tone III A 2)
Deus deorum, Dominus locutus est

MORNING PRAYER — Psalm 46 (Tone V 3)
Deus noster refugium et virtus
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 97 (Tone V 2)
Dominus regnavit; exsultet terra
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 48 (Tone I A 10)
Magnus Dominus
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 126 (Tone I A 2)
In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 18:1–20 (Tone I B 2)
Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 1 (Tone I B 1)
Beatus vir qui non abiit
Domine, quid multiplicati?
Cum invocarem exaudivit me
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 8 (Tone V 2)
Domine Dominus noster quam admirabile
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 7 (Tone I A 1)
Domine Deus meus in te speravi
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 11 (Tone V 2)
In Domino confido
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 12 (Tone IV 9)
Salvum me fac, Domine
Confitebor tibi Domine, in toto corde meo
Domine, quis habitabit?
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 19 (Tone IV 5)
Cæli enarrant gloriam Dei
Ut quid, Domine, recessisti longe?
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 24 (Tone VII 5)
Domini est terra
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 30 (Tone I B 10)
Exaltabo te, Domine
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 22.1-19 (Tone II 1)
Deus, Deus, meus, respice in me
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 22.20-32 (Tonus Peregrinus A)
Erue a framea, Deus
Domine, ne in furore tuo
Usquequo, Domine, oblivisceris me?
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 28 (Tone IV 10)
Ad te, Domine, clamabo
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 29 (Tone V 3)
Afferte Domino, filii Dei
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 27 (Tone VII 3)
Dominus illuminatio mea

Three Cantatas for This Sunday

Johann Sebastian Bach composed three cantatas to be sung in services on the First Sunday in Advent. You may read more about them, and listen to performances, on the links listed below:

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Cantata BWV 61)

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Cantata BWV 62)

Schwingt freudig euch empor (Cantata BWV 36)

John Keble, “Advent Sunday”

The following poem is from John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827).

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Romans xiii 11.

Awake — again the Gospel-trump is blown —
From year to year it swells with louder tone,
    From year to year the signs of wrath
    Are gathering round the Judge’s path,
Strange words fulfilled, and mighty works achieved,
And truth in all the world both hated and believed.

Awake! why linger in the gorgeous town,
Sworn liegemen of the Cross and thorny crown?
    Up from your beds of sloth for shame,
    Speed to the eastern mount like flame,
Nor wonder, should ye find your King in tears,
E’en with the loud Hosanna ringing in His ears.

Alas! no need to rouse them: long ago
They are gone forth to swell Messiah’s show:
    With glittering robes and garlands sweet
    They strew the ground beneath His feet:
All but your hearts are there — O doomed to prove
The arrows winged in Heaven for Faith that will not love!

Meanwhile He passes through th’ adoring crowd,
Calm as the march of some majestic cloud,
    That o’er wild scenes of ocean-war
    Holds its still course in Heaven afar:
E’en so, heart-searching Lord, as years roll on,
Thou keepest silent watch from Thy triumphal throne:

E’en so, the world is thronging round to gaze
On the dread vision of the latter days,
    Constrained to own Thee, but in heart
    Prepared to take Barabbas’ part:
“Hosanna” now, to-morrow “Crucify,”
The changeful burden still of their rude lawless cry.

Yet in that throng of selfish hearts untrue
Thy sad eye rests upon Thy faithful few,
    Children and childlike souls are there,
    Blind Bartimeus’ humble prayer,
And Lazarus wakened from his four days’ sleep,
Enduring life again, that Passover to keep.

And fast beside the olive-bordered way
Stands the blessed home where Jesus deigned to stay,
    The peaceful home, to Zeal sincere
    And heavenly Contemplation dear,
Where Martha loved to wait with reverence meet,
And wiser Mary lingered at Thy sacred feet.

Still through decaying ages as they glide,
Thou lov’st Thy chosen remnant to divide;
    Sprinkled along the waste of years
    Full many a soft green isle appears:
Pause where we may upon the desert road,
Some shelter is in sight, some sacred safe abode.

When withering blasts of error swept the sky,
And Love’s last flower seemed fain to droop and die,
    How sweet, how lone the ray benign
    On sheltered nooks of Palestine!
Then to his early home did Love repair,
And cheered his sickening heart with his own native air.

Years roll away: again the tide of crime
Has swept Thy footsteps from the favoured clime
    Where shall the holy Cross find rest?
    On a crowned monarch’s mailèd breast:
Like some bright angel o’er the darkling scene,
Through court and camp he holds his heavenward course serene.

A fouler vision yet; an age of light,
Light without love, glares on the aching sight:
    Oh, who can tell how calm and sweet,
    Meek Walton, shows thy green retreat,
When wearied with the tale thy times disclose,
The eye first finds thee out in thy secure repose?

Thus bad and good their several warnings give
Of His approach, whom none may see and live:
    Faith’s ear, with awful still delight,
    Counts them like minute-bells at night.
Keeping the heart awake till dawn of morn,
While to her funeral pile this aged world is borne.

But what are Heaven’s alarms to hearts that cower
In wilful slumber, deepening every hour,
    That draw their curtains closer round,
    The nearer swells the trumpet’s sound?
Lord, ere our trembling lamps sink down and die,
Touch us with chastening hand, and make us feel Thee nigh.

Christopher Wordsworth, Three Hymns for Advent Sunday

The following hymns are from Bp. Christopher Wordsworth’s The Holy Year; or Hymns for Sundays and Holy Days throughout the Year (1862). A footnote in the book indicates that Wordsworth intended there three hymns to be suitable for Advent Sunday and for any day in the season of Advent.

Hymn 2


The First Advent of Christ, coming to save.

SEE He comes! whom every nation,
    Taught of God, desired to see,
Fill’d with hope and expectation
    That He would their Saviour be.
Sing, O sing with exultation,
    Lo! He calls us to our home;
Peace, redemption, joy, salvation,
    Now from Heaven to earth are come.

See He comes! whom kings and sages,
    Prophets, patriarchs of old.
Distant climes, and countless ages,
    Waited eager to behold.
Sing, O sing with exultation,
    Lo! He calls us to our home;
Peace, redemption, joy, salvation,
    Now from Heaven to earth are come.

See the Lamb of God appearing,
    God of God, from Heaven above;
See the Heavenly Bridegroom cheering
    His dear Bride with looks of love!
Glory to the Eternal Father,
    Glory to the Incarnate Son,
Glory to the Holy Spirit,
    Glory to the Three in One!


Hymn 3.

The Second Advent of Christ, coming to judge.

THE Day is come, the solemn Day of Doom;
The Judge appears upon a shining cloud;
And all mankind are waken’d from the tomb
By the Archangel’s trumpet, clear and loud.
The Dead come forth; and all, both small and great,
Are summon’d to God’s awful judgment-seat.

Ten thousand Angels are around their Lord,
Forth issues from His throne a fiery flood;
And with the mighty mandate of His word
He separates the wicked from the good;
These on the right, those on the other hand,
Waiting their everlasting sentence stand.

“Hide us, ye Hills, ye Mountains on us fall!”
With fear and piercing shrieks the guilty cry,
And to the caves and rocks for succour call,
“Hide us, O hide us from His searching eye,
O save us from the fury of His ire,
From the undying Worm and Lake of Fire!”

But O what joys the Saints of God await!
Bliss unalloy’d, and sunshine without night;
Christ opens wide to them His Palace-gate,
And bids them drink of pleasures infinite;
God wipes all tears for ever from their eyes,
And gives to them the Life that never dies.

Thou Christ, who cam’st from Heaven our wounds to cure,
And all the works of Satan to destroy,
O purify us, Lord, as Thou art pure,
That we may come to that unsullied joy,
And fashion’d in Thy glorious image be,
And, by Thy Grace Divine, be like to Thee!


Hymn 4.

The First and Second Advents of Christ compared.

     DAUGHTER of Zion, shout with joy,
        Thy King and Saviour see!
     Meek, riding on an ass, a foal,
        Behold! He comes to Thee!
In the Lord’s Name He comes! Hosannas sing,
Daughter of Zion, shout! Behold thy King!

     The foal was yet untam’d, and bound;
        But the Apostles say,
     “The Lord hath need of him;” they loose,
        And garments on him lay ;
Palms strew the road, on him the Lord doth ride
To Zion’s gate, the mother at his side.

     So, Lord, the Heathen World, untam’d,
        Was bound by chains of sin,
     But loos’d by Apostolic hands
        To Zion enters in:
Christ rides upon it: Guide us. Lord, that we
In Thy Jerusalem may ever be.

     Thou, Lord, who once didst meekly ride
        Upon the foal, art He
     Who rideth on the Heavens, the clouds
        Are chariots to Thee;
Thou on the wings of mighty winds dost fly,
The Cherubim bear up Thy majesty.

     “I saw Heaven open’d, I beheld
        One on a White Horse ride,
     Follow’d by Armies out of Heaven
        In white robes glorified;
His eyes like fire, their rays like flaming swords,
His name is King of Kings, and Lord of

     Such at Thy Second Coming Thou
        Wilt be, at that great Day;
     O help us by Thy Spirit now
        Ill works to cast away,
To walk in Love, as Children of the Light,
And follow Thee in vestments pure and white.