O Come - Dayspring

O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by your advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Latin 13th century translated by John M Neale (1818-1866)

The only thing that Dayspring means to me is that it is the tradename of a company that has a line of cloying Christian greetings cards for all eventualities... It wasn't until I read the Latin original that I realise it has a clearer meaning:
O Oriens,

splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Oriens means daybreak, or sunrise... Is it an accident that the ancient writers of this series of songs saved this one for the day before the shortest day of the year and the true beginning of winter? I don't think so...
Maggi Dawn translates this verse with a wee bit more liberty writing:

Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

This obviously draws on that promise in Isaiah that features in the standard set of readings for the 9 Lessons and Carols:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:2 (ANIV)
Jesus went on to claim for himself:
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12 (ANIV)

It's only at this time of year that I see the sunrise... unless I've been working through the night, a la "Singing in the Rain"... I'm not a morning person... But as followers of the light of the world we, in turn are called to be "morning people", sharing the light of light, in the midst of the darkness of death, because Jesus also said...
You are the light of the world...
let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven. 
Matthew 5:14, 16 (ANIV)




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