Quietly the frozen earth
Pregnant with its seedlings lies;
Quietly the waters rest,
Still and reverent in their ice.
Fluting birdsong now is stilled,
And the insects’ rasping choir;
Softer voice of plaintive wind
Sends its calls to heaven higher.
Autumn’s flaming glories now
Have dropped, faded, from the trees,
Which in plainness penitent
Raise gray hands in skyward pleas.
They echo sweet, solemn tunes
Of the organ and the bell,
Taking up our rising cry,
“O Veni Emmanuel!”
Now atop a purple stalk
Blooms a single fiery glow;
Soon another answers it,
Then the rose light burns to show
That this still and silent time
Brings a beatific reign;
Blest are all whose lamps are lit;
You who wait, wait not in vain.
You who’ve watched through darker night,
Trustful hearts awaiting Him,
See your waited Dayspring come,
Brightening skies that were dim.
You who wander in the night,
Who know not for whom to wait,
See the Son who brings a light
You could not anticipate.
You who shrink like beaten curs,
Thund’ring wrath for sins to flee,
See redemption come for you,
Like the dewfall, tenderly.
Set the fourth light burning now!
Brighten lamps and tune your strings,
Branches bring and winter flowers,
Find all fair and gladsome things;
Pray with hearts more earnest now,
Bright, hot, quiv’ring, like the flames,
Watching eagerly for Him
Whose Name is above all names.
All lights but reflect His light;
Every hope from Him derives;
Gladly we our watch have kept
For this time—when He arrives!