Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1Ti 3:16 NIV)
It is quite impossible for us mortals to interpret you honour and glory appropriately, o new-born King! Angel hosts with cherubim and seraphim far more magnificent than Jacob saw at Mahanaim are praising you with perfect splendour and even their songs are not quite up to your divine majesty and beauty, which surpasses everything. Let me fall prostrate before your manger and behold your loveliness in silent adoration and worship. Blessed peace in your gracious presence. Conceived, born and alive without sin or blemish – and yet burdened with my sin, guilt and pernicious godlessness. You firstborn of your blessed mother, purpose and goal of her life and that of your adopting father Joseph, fatherless orphan, King and saviour of your dear mother too. God and Lord of the world and still just a baby in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. You have descended from unattainable and incomprehensible heights in the divine heavens and have made your abode among us – in the very dark and solitary vale of death even. Almighty and thus you became man and quite small, tiny and vulnerable too. Unfathomable and without a place to stay in Bethlehem, yet you came to make room for heaven on earth. Yes, you’ve spread out your heaven to the very ends of the earth. Unconceivable and yet you found room in the womb of your mother Mary and on her lap and at her breast. Oh, holy Lord Sabaoth, adorable Son of man! Praise songs of the heavenly hosts, adoration and jubilation from your Church! Highest honours of your Father, most profound peace that passes all understanding for this world even in the greatest strife and conflict. You have the favour of your Father and the worship of all saved sinners. You are the saviour of the world, most holy Lord Sabaoth! At your manger I fall silent as I am but a poor boy and unable to address you appropriately. Blessed are those, who sing your praises; blessed those who are at peace in and with you. Hallelujah!
O Jesus Christ, Thy manger is My paradise at which my soul reclineth. For there, O Lord, doth lie the Word Made flesh for us; herein Thy grace forthshineth.
He Whom the sea and wind obey Doth come to serve the sinner in great meekness. Thou, God’s own Son, with us art one, Dost join us and our children in our weakness.
Thy light and grace our guilt efface, Thy heavenly riches all our loss retrieving. Immanuel, Thy birth doth quell The power of hell and Satan’s bold deceiving.
Thou Christian heart, whoe’er thou art, Be of good cheer and let no sorrow move thee! For God’s own Child, in mercy mild, Joins thee to Him—how greatly God must love thee!
Remember thou what glory now The Lord prepared thee for all earthly sadness. The angel host can never boast Of greater glory, greater bliss or gladness.
The world may hold her wealth and gold; But thou, my heart, keep Christ as thy true Treasure. To Him hold fast until at last A crown be thine and honor in full measure.
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the high holiday of Christmas. It is found on Pg. 35 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.