A Swell of Grace

by Hope College Worship

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Welcome to "A Swell of Grace," our Christmas EP for 2019!
It's difficult to 'hear' the story of the incarnation as we read it in scripture, and the traditional carols of the season don't make it any easier. While the biblical narrative is filled with power struggles, political intrigue, disenfranchised refugees, and cosmic disturbances our telling veers off into sentimentalizing the stark circumstances of Christ's earthly arrival. Last year I (Bruce) was invited to participate in a songwriting retreat encouraging the church's musical artists to write a more honest Christmas song. One that boldly, poetically, and beautifully embraces the holy disturbances of the incarnation story.

Each year students on the worship teams at Hope produce an album of original worship music. Last fall, inspired by the retreat, I invited the students to engage a similar task - write original advent and Christmas songs that explored the narrative and emotional depths of the coming of Christ.

Our deep gratitude to the folks at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Lester Ruth, and David Taylor for their continued work encouraging the church.

Grace and Peace,
Bruce Benedict
Chaplain of Worship Arts

(*Liz Vice just released a song I wrote with her at the retreat mentioned above called "Refugee King")


released November 21, 2019

To find out more about campus ministries at Hope College please visit: hope.edu/offices/campus-ministries/
Produced by Bruce Benedict for Hope College Campus Ministries
Engineered and mixed by Jack Miller ('18) and Miranda Craig ('18)
with additional engineering by Drew Elliot
Mastered by Drew Elliot
Art & Design by Blake Johnson ('16)
With additional support by Cardiphonia Music: Cardiphonia.com


all rights reserved



Hope College Worship Holland, Michigan

A collection of albums released by Hope College Campus Ministries that record the work of God through music and worship -
mostly recorded live in Dimnent Chapel.

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Track Name: Anna Kate Peterson - The Holy of Holies
Come in, look around 
See the dust and dirt scattered all over the ground,
In this cave, in this place,
The holy of holies

The Lord our God, entered our mess,
In the purity of this girl, took on flesh,
Virgins womb, the Spirits room,
The Holy of Holies.

Chorus 1:
Hallelujah, forever amen
Hallelujah, the Son of man
Hallelujah, forever and ever amen
Our Earth here, the holy of holies

The brightest star, burned the way
To the cross where blood was love on display,
The old has passed, the new has come
The veil has torn 

Find rest, find peace
For all mankind, for all eternity
He has come, he has won
He holds the keys/ he’s on the throne 

Chorus 2:
Hallelujah, forever amen
Hallelujah, the Son of man
Hallelujah, forever Emmanuel
we are all, the holy of Holies,
I am His, he is with me

Do not be afraid 
For the Lord God has come 
All Earth shall rejoice as Heaven

Do not be afraid,
For the Lord God has won
Bringing a new Earth and Heaven

Glory to God in the highest,
Peace on Earth with whom He’s pleased
Track Name: Kennadi Hawes & Liv Maat - Emmanuel Chorus
Hallelujah God with us to dwell
Hallelujah Jesus Emmanuel Chorus

Our God is born
Wrapped up in human flesh
He has made His home with us

A helpless child
Wrapped in His mother’s arms
A baby born to save
Track Name: Olivia Abdou & Cecilia O'Brien - Every Knee Shall Bow
Dm C Gm Dm
The one on the throne was born without a home
Dm C Gm Dm
Despised and rejected and forced to roam
Dm C Gm Dm
In a stable filled with hay, our savior born that day
Dm C Gm Dm D
Mary and Joseph in awe at his name

Freedom is found in this child who came down
He empties his heart so our lives can start
Every knee shall bow for the baby's sleeping now
So human and so real Christ Jesus is here

Dm C Gm Dm
Precious lord Jesus has come to live with us
Dm C Gm Dm
A baby in a blanket to fill the world with love
Dm C Gm Dm
He comes in His innocence to save us from our sin
Dm C Gm Dm
The moment his crying starts our whole lives begin


Dm C Gm Dm
No beauty to desire yet we’re drawn to his face
Dm C Gm Dm
A man of suffering to bear our pain
Dm C Gm Dm
Pierced for our transgressions to set us free
Dm C Gm Dm
Oppressed and afflicted his wounds make us clean

Track Name: Michael Stone - Dispossessed and Peaceful
D D/E G x4

Verse 1
D Bm persecuted in the dark
D Bm the Christmas child on earth abides
incarnated word of God carried town to town to hide
Joseph and the road again
Mary clutching child’s weak head
holy God, where were we then? immigrants in search of rest

D D/EG God is our witness
D D/EG sitting on the darkened stair
God is our witness
dispossessed and peaceful there

Verse 2
D Bm falling into snowy ground contemplating all my sin
whispering in winter cold death is in my heart again
snow in all the hearts of men spring is far there’s no way in
a table’s set inside the house still I stand outside and doubt

D D/EG God is our witness
sitting on the darkened stair
God is our witness
dispossessed and peaceful there

D D/E G x4

Verse 3
D Bm listen for the call of Christ listen for the hope of night
crawl into an earthly form
let the heartache keep you warm
feel the pain another bears let their story mend the tears
taste the fruit of love at last Christ in us is come to pass

Chorus x2

God is our witness
sitting on the darkened stair
God is our witness
dispossessed and peaceful there

Outro DD/EG
Track Name: Micah Stilwell - Isaiah 40
Comfort, comfort now my people;
“speak of peace!" so says our God.
Comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning ‘neath their sorrow's load.
To God's people now proclaim
that God's pardon waits for them!
Tell them that their war is over;
God will reign in peace forever!

Now, our sins our God will pardon,
blotting out each dark misdeed;
all that well deserved His anger
He no more will see or heed.
We have suffered many days,
now our griefs have passed away;
God will change our pining sadness
into ever-springing gladness

Hark the herald's voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
calling us to true repentance
since the Kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him!

Straight shall be what long was crooked;
make the rougher places plain!
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign!
For the glory of the Lord
now on earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that God's word is never broken.
Track Name: Sarah Sims - Swell of Grace
This quiet carrying
This gestation of grace
This swelling of a song
We are waiting
We are waiting

For the barren to bear fruit
For the bleak to reap hope

In His tender mercy
Sunrise dawns from on High
In the way of peace He guides our feet
O Light, pierce the sky

This covenant conceived
This promise prophesied
This blessing be beckoned in
We are longing
We are longing

For the barren to bear fruit
For the bleak to reap hope

A leap for joy
A cry in the night
All souls felt its worth
Our Christ has arrived

These things treasured up
This glory incarnate
This Good News for all
every nation every tongue
We are singing
Yes, singing as one.

For the barren have borne fruit
For the bleak now reap hope
The stranger now welcomed in

In His tender mercy
Sunrise dawns from on High
In the way of peace He guides our feet
O this Light, has pierced the sky
Track Name: Bruce Benedict - His Name Shall Be
The people who in darkness walked
have seen a glorious light;
the heavenly dawn broke forth on those
who dwelt in death and night,

To greet you, Sun of Righteousness,
the gathering nations come,
rejoicing as when reapers bring
their harvest treasures home,

To us the promised child is born, to us a son is given;
and on his shoulders ever rests all power in earth and heaven,

His peace and righteous government
shall over all extend;
on judgment and on justice based,
his reign shall never end.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace
forevermore adored,
the Wonderful, the Counselor,
the Great and Mighty Lord