Unfailing Christmas Prayer (2019)

Winter 2019-

The text of Unfailing Christmas Prayer originates from an anonymous prayer in the Catholic Advent liturgy. The prayer was given its imprimatur (official license) by the Archbishop Michael Augustine in 1897, and it has been printed in multiple ecclesiastical books since then. While I was searching for potential Advent texts to set chorally, I was struck by the prayer’s simple elegance, poetic phrasability, and spiritual resonance. The text considers in awe and reverence the moment Christ was born, and Christ’s deliverance through the blessed Virgin Mary. The most noteworthy part of the prayer for me comes at the end, when the speaker requests that God hear the prayer, not because of their own worthiness, but because of their deliverance through the merits of Christ. My appreciation for the last few lines is reflected in my compositional choices, and overall, I made a conscious effort to craft a simple melody with inspiring harmonic depths beneath it, just as the simple prayer has inspiring theological depths within it. I trust that the singers will regard the text and phrasings with as much care as I did while composing the piece, and regardless of theological affiliation, deliver an impactful performance, featuring a text that carries so much weight in the hearts of billions of inhabitants of this Earth.

Hail and Blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.