In Advent we not only prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Christ at Christmas but also our attention turns to the coming of Christ at the end of time. Many of our prayers and hymns used in corporate worship during this season reflect this.
One of my favourites is Lo, he comes with clouds descending. The most familiar version to us of the text is by Charles Wesley, but the version below (by Rippon, in 1787) has a few more verses and brings out even more explicitly the connection with Advent and the end of time.
The recording I've chosen is by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band, an early music group. Their performance reminds us of the origin of many English hymn tunes as folk melodies.
1. Lo! he comes with clouds descending, Once for favoured sinners slain, Thousand thousand saints attending, Swell the triumph of his train: Hallelujah, Jesus now shall ever reign.
2. Every eye shall now behold him Robed in dreadful majesty: Those who set at naught and sold him, Pierced and nailed him to the tree, Deeply wailing, Shall the great messiah see.
3. Every island, sea, and mountain, Heaven and earth shall flee away: All who hare him most, confounded, Hear the trump proclaim the day; Come to judgment! Come to judgment! come away!
4. Now redemption, long expected, See in solemn pomp appear! All his saints, by man rejected, Now shall meet him in the air! Hallelujah! See the day of God appear!
5. Answer thine own bride and spirit, Hasten, Lord, the general doom! The new heaven and earth to inherit, Take thy pining exiles home: All creation Travails, groans, and bids thee come!
6. Yea! Amen! let all adore thee, High on thine exalted throne! Savior, take the power and glory: Claim the kingdoms for thine own! O come quickly, Hallelujah! Come, Lord, come!