A Canticle for Advent: Ponder Nothing Earthly-Minded

photo by Julie Garrett
photo by Julie Garrett

1 Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

2 King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood,
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

3 Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the shadows clear away

4 At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
“Alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, Lord most high!”
~from the Liturgy of St. James, 4th century


The Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth be silent before him.
Habakkuk 2:20


This ancient hymn is one of the most profound of Advent, demanding our silence as we ponder and honor these words that transcend all earthly bounds of our eyes, ears and voices.
How can we be anything but awe-struck silent as we consider Christ our God to earth descendeth?  We should be trembling; we should be standing mute in our shoes, amazed.
So we follow the lead of the angel host as they bring us the incredible news: Glory to God!  Alleluia!
There is nothing earthly minded in their song.
Earth will never be the same since He came,
He died,
He rose
and He readies us to join Him.



6 thoughts on “A Canticle for Advent: Ponder Nothing Earthly-Minded

  1. “…He readies us to join Him.” — His promise will be fulfilled. Our gift of faith gives us assurance of this promise.

    How beautiful are the angelic faces of the children’s choir. Did I see two of your pride and joy in yesterday’s children’s choir picture?


  2. This advent canticle has been playing and replaying in my head since Christmas so I decided to look for more information. How lucky I was to discover your beautiful website. Thank you for reminding me how blessed I am to live in this amazing world.


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