Löhe on Luke 2:14 (Christmas Eve)

angel appears basicGlory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luk 2:14 KJV)

When the almighty God created the world out of nothing, all the majesties celebrated and the children of light exulted. The universal oceans roared and those of our planet joined in too. Millions of plants and flowers flourished at his calling. Sun, moon and stars danced in perfect harmony and divine rhythm. The air was alive with bird-song, the fish in the depths intoned in wonderful variety and man stood before God in perfect adoration and worship.

Yet when the world fell into sin, the divine heart came up with the restitution of this perfect world, Satan had corrupted in unison with sin and exploiting our fallibility. Millennia passed – and God kept his peace, remained silent, hid his face until this very night. The great big holiday we are celebrating today. The son broke forth from on high and was born from the blessed virgin Mary, mother of God. All else was outshone by his bright glory – even the most prominent stars were nothing against his divine light and majesty. The angels all cheered and triumphed – together with all creatures – fell down and worshipped him – the little baby in the manger – Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah +

All angels prayed and worshipped – even though he was not incarnate for them, he didn’t die for them. How much more should we therefore pray and worship him as he took on our flesh, became our brother, just like us, but without sin and eventually suffered and died vicariously for the sins of the world, for you and for me too. We tune our strings, lift up our voices, warm up our trumpets and trombones. We fall onto our knees, prostrate on the ground and in the dust. We intone with the heavenly hosts and the eternal glorification and adoration:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Amen.

We worship the Father, who gave his only begotten Son to save a lost world and return life and salvation to mankind. We worship the Son – very God of very God and also true man born of Mary the blessed virgin and holy mother of God – he who is truly one person with two natures, humiliated himself and was exulted in good time, sitting at the right hand of his Father in majesty, who is to return in glory and who will judge the world with righteousness and who will bring his Church to splendid fulfilment so that she rejoice together with him now and always. We give him thanks and adore and worship him in word, thought and deed, with hearts and mouths and all join in by glorifying him and say: Halleluiah,  Halleluiah, Halleluiah. Amen.

All my heart this night rejoices As I hear Far and near Sweetest angel voices. “Christ is born,” their choirs are singing Till the air Everywhere Now with joy is ringing.

Forth today the Conqueror goeth, Who the foe, Sin and woe, Death and hell, o’erthroweth. God is man, man to deliver; His dear Son Now is one With our blood forever.

Shall we still dread God’s displeasure, Who, to save, Freely gave His most cherished Treasure? To redeem us, He hath given His own Son From the throne Of His might in heaven. (Paul Gerhard, 1653)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the high holiday of Christmas Eve. It is found on Pg. 34 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.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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