And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Rom 13:11 KJV)
Today is the start of Advent. It is reminding us: Take heed of the time. The return of Christ is much closer than it was during the apostle’s lifetime. That was the early dawn preceding the coming day, when people start to wake from the sleep. Our time however is the late morning, when everybody is wide awake and going about their daily chores. The day of our Lord Jesus Christ and his accompanying salvation has come closer by 1900 years (today it’s 2000 years already WW). That’s why the watchmen on the lookout up on the buttresses need to call even more urgently: Soon the time has come, when preparation is overdue. It’s high time already. The sun has risen. Noonday is at hand. The world is nearing its consummation. It’s a critical time, critical years, critical Advent. This Advent wants to prepare us to be ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory. Amen.
Dear Lord God, awaken us up, so that we’ll be ready, when your Son Jesus Christ appears in glory. Grant that we will welcome him with joy and gladness as we continue to serve you with pure and faithful hearts. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
1. Rise, my soul, to watch and pray; From your sleep awaken; Be not by the evil day Unawares over taken. Satan’s prey Oft are they Who secure are sleeping And no watch are keeping.
2. Watch against the world that frowns Darkly to dismay you; Watch when it your wishes crowns, Smiling to betray you. Watch and see, You are free From false friends who charm you While they seek to harem you.
3. Watch against yourself, my soul, Lest with grace you trifle; Let not self your thoughts control Nor God’s mercy stifle. Pride and sin Lurk within, All your hopes to shatter; Heed not when they flatter.
4. But while watching, also pray To the Lord unceasing. God alone can make you free, Strength and faith increasing, So that still Mind and will Heartfelt praises tender And true service render. (J.B. Freystein, 1671-1718 tr Catharine Winkworth 1827-1878)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the first Sunday in Advent. It is found on Pg. 7 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.