The apostle calls paganism, heathenism and idolatry “night”. Everything that tries to fill our hearts and souls with something else than the living God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is “night”. Just as everything that tries to posit something instead of God’s holy Word as true, right and salutary is but “night”. The people, who have recognized the coming light in Jesus Christ and also his opposition as “night”, have never been the overwhelming majority of any population. They remain a precious minority as it is just by grace if somebody is called from the night into the day. Why is this like that especially if the time of godlessness is passing and the glorious time of Christ’s visible reign is drawing near? It is mainly because the time is not recognized for what it is. Because people prefer the darkness and night over and above the light and day of the living God. Because the revelation of God’s divine will through his word in the old and new Testament are ignored, if not despised and people close their eyes before the bright light of the heavenly truth. Salvation is truly meant for everyone. Let us recognize it for what it is. Let us not oppose it, but rather accept that the time has come to arise from sleep, to turn our backs on godlessness and faithlessness, rather dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly towards obeying our God’s holy commands and putting our trust entirely in his beautiful promises. Amen.
Eternal God, heavenly Father! We give you thanks for the saving gospel of your Son Jesus Christ, who has been gracious to us and has forgiven us all our sins and iniquities. You have entrusted this gospel to your congregation and Church here on earth, blessing it thus without measure. Grant wisdom and strength to your servants and people, that they proclaim your salvation joyfully and with conviction. Call those, who are still far off, asleep in the night of sin and shadow’s of death. Grant that they will wake up, bow their knees before you and worship him, who comes as Lord and God of all: Jesus Christ! Strengthen the weak. Comfort the mourning. Grant faithful victory to those struggling. Preserve the faithful. Prepare us all for a blessed death – especially those, whom you will call next. O God of peace, sanctify us through and through, so that our Spirit, body and soul might be found blameless until the day of your Son Jesus Christ! Amen. (Agenda of the old Prussian Agenda, 1931)
- The night will soon be ending; The dawn can not be far. Let sons of praise ascending Now greet the Morning Star! All you whom darkness frightens With guilt or grief or pain, God’s radiant Star now brightens And bids you sing again.
- Yet nights will bring their sadness And rob our hearts of preace, And sin in all its madness Around us may increase. But now one Star is beaming Whose rays have pierced the night: God comes for our redeeming From Sin’s oppressive might.
- God dwells with us in darkness And makes the night as day; Yet we resist the brightness And turn form God away. But grace does not forsake us, However far we run. God claims us still as children Through Mary’s infant Son. (Jochen Klepper, 1903-1942 tr Herman G. Stuempfle jr 1923)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the first Sunday in Advent. It is found on Pg. 8 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.