Advent, Day 6: Coming

LOOK: Elena Markova (Russian, 1967–), Christmas Dreams, ca. 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 27 9/16 × 35 3/8 in.

Markova, Elena_Christmas Dreams

Born in Kargopol, Russia, and now living in Oregon in the western US, artist Elena Markova is inspired by the spiritual traditions of her homeland and its vibrant folk art. Her lyrical paintings reflect her love of folk tales, myths, religious narrative, and the magic of the natural world.

LISTEN: “Advent Moon” | Words by Angier Brock and music by Cecilia McDowall, 2013 | Performed by the Choir of King’s College London and organist Michael Butterfield, on Advent Carols from King’s College London, 2019

I prefer the King’s College performance above, but you’ll need a Spotify account to listen. For an Oxford Choir performance from 2014, see SoundCloud:

Let the coming of the One
who arranges Orion and the Pleiades
begin in darkness.
Let the night be cold, with drifts of snow.
Let there be one lily blooming,
and whispered messages, and kneeling.

The fierce earth spins in expectation
beneath the long night’s moon, Advent moon.
Like the restless fox crossing frosted meadows,
the silvered owl in focused, silent flight,
each of us is hungry.
In rooms of untold longing,
we sing our seasoned carols,
watch, and wait.

Let the coming of the One
who kindles fires of hope,
whose faithfulness runs far beyond our sight,
be like the coming of a child.
Let there be milk, forgiveness, quiet arms.
Come quickly, Love, our dearest deep
and sweetest dawning.
Come, fill us with your light.

This choral anthem was a collaboration between lyricist and composer, commissioned by Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, where Angier Brock lives. (Cecilia McDowall lives in London.) It premiered at the church on December 1, 2013, sung by the Choirs of Bruton Parish. I’m blown away by the beauty of Brock’s text. The Creator of the constellations, descended from heaven to dwell with us—light in our darkness, food for our hunger, warmth in the cold. Reminds me a bit of Rowan Williams’s poem “Advent Calendar.” I will definitely be returning to this one each Advent!


For each day of the first week of Advent I am publishing one art-and-song pairing as an invitation for seasonal reflection.