Advent Reflections 2021: Day 16

I cannot tell why he, who angels worship

(StF 350)

This is one of the hymns where for me the tune and words work together so well. ‘I cannot tell’ is thoughtful and quiet, and then the ascending notes for ‘but this I know’ with the affirmation at the end of the verse.

It’s almost an echo of the Psalmists cry. Wondering where God is, pouring out their fears and yet getting to the point of saying, ‘but God is faithful’.

I remember my Local Preacher tutor saying that as he got older he believed more and more in less and less. I was in my early 20s at the time and found that interesting in a retired minister, but didn’t really get it. Not sure if I do now, but I appreciated the honesty of that comment, and realising that I didn’t need to know everything or have all the answers.

That the faith journey continues past milestones of age, confirmation, becoming a Local Preacher or minister. For me this hymn echoes that, not needing to know or understand everything, but holding onto to what I do know.

The Saviour of the world is come at Bethlehem, is here in our times of doubt, fear and suffering having experienced the journey to the cross, is known through the seeds sown by his faithful servants through the ages, all those people who are part of our faith stories, as we wait Christ’s return as King, in the same way that the prophets waited his coming into the world as a baby at Bethlehem.

Janet Green


Saviour of the world, come to us as a baby at Bethlehem –

thank you that we don’t need to know everything,

that we can love and follow you

with our doubts as well as our faith. Amen