The Canticle in the Wilderness
The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice,
the desert shall blossom and burst into song.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weary hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to the anxious,
‘Be strong, fear not,
your God is coming with judgment,
coming with judgment to save you.’
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
Then shall the lame leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Joy and gladness shall be theirs,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.Isaiah 35.1,2b-4a,4c-6,10
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever.
Canticles for Feasts and Festivals
The Church of England
Hans Christian Anderson’s The Fir Tree was published, along with The Snow Queen, in the last days of Advent tide in 1844. Though they have been “Disneyfied” and often given happy endings Anderson’s stories frequently end less than happily – The Little Match Girl and The Steadfast Toy Soldier, two Christmas time favourites spring to mind. The Fir Tree is of that genre but was the first of his tales to show such a strong streak of pessimism. Anderson often read it when invited to private homes; on once occasion Wilhelm Grimm was present at a party in Germany and, according to Anderson’s diary, admired the tale very much.
Here it is read by *Mrs P.: