“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isa 60:1-2 NIV)
The situation of the gentile nations was dismal before Jesus Christ came. Even Israel was going through bleak and dreary times. No prophet was about. God’s word had fallen silent and it was only flickering here and there. Yet, when all seemed most miserable and dark, the promise of old came to fruition: The LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you! The Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ appeared in Israel. He is born in the middle of the holy Land. Thirty three years he dwells on earth. Three years he preaches publically and fulfils his godly mission of forgiveness, healing and salvation amongst God’s people. When he had died, was buried and then rose after three days his name did not diminish. Rather his glory spread across the globe. His gospel enlightened the nations. He was like the sun bringing light to the world. Now Israel could stop the lament and Jacob could rejoice. Now it was true: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. And that holds true for all of us. + Amen.
Hosanna to him, who has come in the name of the Lord. The light to enlighten the nations and for praise amongst the people of Israel. Hosanna in the name of all gentiles, who have come to worship at his manger and who have passed away in the light of Zion and those, who still live in this light and those, who are still coming to him. Hosanna in the name of the first and the last. May the fill of gentiles soon come into the godly fold of Christ’s one, holy Church and the rest of Israel be gathered too. Yes, may our Lord Jesus Christ himself return in glory and rule visibly over his eternal kingdom . Amen. Amen. (Wilhelm Löhe)
1 O Christ, our true and only light, Enlighten those who sit in night; Let those afar now hear Your voice And in Your fold with us rejoice.
2 Fill with the radiance of Your grace The souls now lost in error’s maze; Enlighten those whose inmost minds Some dark delusion haunts and blinds.
3 O gently call those gone astray That they may find the saving way! Let ev’ry conscience sore oppressed In you find peace and heav’nly rest.
4 Shine on the darkened and the cold; Recall the wand’rers to Your fold. Unite all those who walk apart; Confirm the weak and doubting heart,
5 That they with us may evermore Such grace with wond’ring thanks adore And endless praise to You be giv’n By all Your Church in earth and heav’n. (Johann Hermann, 1585-1647; tr Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the high holiday of Ephiphany. It is found on Pg. 47 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.