This week we completed our journey to Bethlehem. What a beautiful glow, all of the candles lit together! We couldn’t quite leave the candles behind, so we’ve continued lighting them into Christmastide (or until they grow too tiny for our Advent spiral). In our family prayer time on Christmas night, we prayed the “earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible that is still used today.” In Koine Greek, the language the New Testament was written in, it’s called Phos Hilaron. When the kids were little, we prayed this prayer together every night for family devotions. We all know it by heart. When we could form no other words, we prayed it together the night we learned Rob had died. Since then, we’ve prayed Phos Hilaron on all of our monthly memorial dates.
On Christmas Day, the culmination of our Advent waiting, it felt right to use this prayer again. I am grateful for these ancient words that have been our guide and comfort these last five months.
O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping.
That awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. —