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When winter’s tilt of Planet Earth
adds hours to the dark of night,
then even we who stretch our days with artificial light
learn once again to wait and welcome dawn.
Winter nights are long…so very long.
And we, like God’s green plants
in summer fields or winter windowsills,
cannot deny our longing for the light.
We seek the sun.
The dawn is a threshold, doorway, gate,
where we and day first meet.
And if that day is full of grace
then it is joy enough for us to stand within the doorway,
facing East, to wait for what shall come.
And so, the star-lit herald song of birds or angel choirs,
the first small newborn infant cry of God’s incarnate love,
the first faint gleam of God’s own justice, mercy, peace,
can be enough to change the world and us.
The early gentle blush of rose on such a ripening day
is reason for the soul to sing.
For then the darkness is no longer night,
but we who walk in darkness see a great and gladdening light:
the Dawn of Redeeming Grace.
- W. Bruce Benson
The homophonic voicing in “A Sign of Day to Come” makes the poem very clear to the listener. The beautiful imagery set by W. Bruce Benson is complimented by a through-composed melody set mostly in the soprano line. As the poem progesses from the literal and figurative desire for light to the arrival of Grace, the music follows with it’s tonal yet surprising turns. This work is a beautiful choice as an Advent or Epiphany anthem.