Curating Advent // PART III: Spotless Rose

Advent is the beginning of the liturgical calendar for many Christians around the world. Advent, which means "a visitation," is a season wherein we reflect upon the darkness that surrounds us, long for God to break in, rejoice at the visitation of His Son, and hope for His return. In this series, I will share various works of art and musical selections to enrich our experience of this holy season. Each post will contain a short reflection along with one artwork and one piece of music. 

During this season, we reflect on the myriad of imagistic and rich prophetic texts foretelling Jesus' visitation. One such text is Isaiah 11. This incredible prophecy has been the source of many poetic, musical, and artistic reflections. 

"The Branch" by  L.L. Effler

"The Branch" by L.L. Effler

The music I am sharing is one of my favorite Christmas texts and music of all time. Paul Mealor, a modern Welsh composer, uses this anonymous text based off of Isaiah 11. His choral setting of this poetry brings me to tears upon each hearing; it has truly never become old to me. Take the time to read the lyrics, below the recording, while listening. 


A Spotless Rose is growing,
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers’ foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter,
And in the dark midnight.

The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said,
Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid;
Through God’s great love and might
The Blessed Babe she bare us
In a cold, cold winter’s night. Amen
— Anonymous