Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming—New Verses for Advent/Christmas Carol

This beloved carol originated in a 16th century German monastery. Legend
has it that a monk was inspired to create it after a Christmas Eve forest walk during
which he saw a blooming rose. The imagery is based on Isaiah 11:1 referring to
the Branch of Jesse, a central Messianic symbol: “There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

That text makes no mention of a rose. Curiously, there is a debate as to
whether the first words of the carol used the German Ros (rose) or Reis (branch). Indeed, some hymnals have “Lo, How a Branch is Growing,” which is more
biblically accurate, but less metaphorically splendid, than the rosy alternative. Just
look at these lines from a traditional verse:

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere.

It would stump a lowly branch trying to top that!

Over the years many verses have been created for this carol, so I thought it
timely to share my own:

Lo, how a rose is blooming
from ancient stem re-sprung.
Amid the chaos looming
as bards of old have sung.
It comes a flow’ret bright
with fragrance full of music
when half spent is our fright.

How can this rose now blooming,
In days of greed and lies,
Withstand the threats, the dooming,
of guns, of hope that dies?
It comes a flow’ret bright
Inspiring us to action
mid hatred’s ugly blight.

………………………………………We pray the bloom restores us
………………………………………with hope and love and might.
………………………………………And shows a vision glorious
………………………………………Of sanity and right.
………………………………………It comes a flow’ret bright
………………………………………aglow with peace and justice
………………………………………And loving, holy light.

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