Advent to Candlemas (Vol. 1)

The Presentation

i. Chorale

The weary shepherds sleep beneath the darkened sky,
Dreaming of angels, or were they the dream?
The starless stable greets its customary cattle,
The Holy Family rests, then sets out for the Temple.

ii. Recit - Narrator

When eight days had passed since Jesu's birth,
The appointed time for circumcision came;
And Mary, purified after the birth,
Came with her husband, Joseph to The Temple,
Bringing a pair of turtle doves as gifts.
And when it came to name the Holy child,
She called to mind the words that the Angel said;
And Her Son duly was named Jesus:

iii. Chorale

The pious Simeon wrestles with dreams yet unfulfilled,
Haunted by fear of dying before the Saviour comes,
Praying for one day's life to bring death thankfully,
Watching the grey of dawn, hoping it is his last.
And Anna, the good Prophetess has prayed all night
And vows she will not eat until she sees The Child.

iv. Aria Duet - Anna & Simeon (3/4 time)

Simeon: My Lord and Creator through His Holy Ghost
Has promised in dreams that I will die in peace,
By holding The Lord's true Incarnate Christ;
Then go to my rest with a sense of release.

Anna: For more than three score years I have prayed for this day,
And witnessed so many male infants pass by;
But in spite of the usual appearance I see
The promise of hope in the new morning sky.

Duet: Our lives now can end in unlimited joy
For the birth in our nation of this Blessed Boy.

v. Recit - Narrator

And when Joseph and Mary came into The Temple
Simeon first, and then Anna, were deeply moved;
They immediately saw through Mary's humble demeanour
To the sacred essence of the son she carried in her arms.
Anna gave thanks throughout the precincts of The Temple,
Praising God for His goodness to Israel.

vi. Chorale.

O Israel, that has suffered long
Beneath the shadow of Eden's sin,
The outward promise seems forlorn
But your bright future lies within:
A heavenly, not an earthly Lord
Has come in light, the Truth, The Word.

Now open every humble heart,
And count privation as a joy,
Forget the Roman yoke and tax,
And keep your eyes upon this boy:
He in His Father's Temple will,
In being The Temple, all fulfill.

vii. Recit - Narrator

Now Simeon took up the tiny baby in his arms
And his tears fell onto the face of the little child,
As if the baptism of Old Israel
Fell with hope upon the long awaited Messiah.

viii. Aria - Simeon

Lord, let Thy servant now depart in peace,
According to Thy Word, such sweet release;
For my eyes have seen salvation in Thy face,
For Israel and all the human race:
A light throughout the world that all may be
Fulfilled through Israel's covenant with Thee.
The Holy Spirit has pronounced through me
Unending Grace through Thy Nativity.

ix. Recit - Narrator

And Joseph and Mary marvelled at all the things
The man of god said to them as he held the child
And he blessed Him, returning Him to Mary
And made as if to turn away; but said:

x. Aria - Simeon (3/4 time).

This child is set
To cause a mighty tumult, rise and fall
Of those who hesitate
Or think the love of God is frail and small:
And men now drunk with power
Shall yield estate to man whose power is prayer,
Seers who look to the state
Shall look and find its power is not there.

And yet this gentle child
Will bring great pain, even to its mother dear;
Thou, maiden undefiled,
Shall yet feel loss, bewilderment and fear:
For in that transport sweet
To life eternal thou shalt see a sword
Pierce thy son's side,
And pierce thy heart in piercing Thy Lord.

xi. Recit - Narrator

And Mary and Joseph made their way from The Temple
Turning over all these premonitions in their troubled minds,
Such glory and such tragedy mixed in their souls
As they looked with renewed awe at the baby announced by The Angel.

xii. chorale

Go down, go down to Nazareth
And love this child which came to Thee,
Business of angels, Lord of Kings,
A child of hope and prophesy:
Go down to Nazareth and teach
Your son to worship, watch and pray,
That He who knows and loves the law
Fulfills it in his Ministry.