Herrenhuter readings for the 4th Sunday in Advent, the 21st December 2014

3.-Advent-Angela-Sp.For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11) Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne. (Revelations 1:4) 

A very blessed 4th Sunday in Advent to you and yours + It’s been a long way coming, but now Christmas is around the corner. It’s just about time for the big holidays of the Church celebrating the incarnation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Lot’s has been done in preparations and the celebrations are going  to be marvellous around the globe – and all because the little baby Jesus was born of the virgin Mary there in Bethlehem with Joseph, some shepherds from the surrounding fields and all the heavenly hosts. God becomes man. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father in eternity becomes our brother. And blessed is everyone, who does not take offence at God’s wonderful doings + ways.

His thoughts, plans and works of salvation for us and all mankind are just divine and truly amazing. Way beyond any of our conceptions, theories and ideas. However its not just the way to salvation that is so out of this world, it is also and foremost the absolute mercy and goodness of his ways, miracles and wonders. See – none of us deserved to be saved. Our well earned lot was to be condemned forever to living  separated and distant from the source of all goodness and the presence of the living God himself. Yet he overcame the terrible divide. Gave himself as the ransom for us and returned us to the place, where we were destined to be by his very favour, grace, love and kindness. That’s why at his birth the angels sing gloriously: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14) It’s peace again between God and man. The enmity due to our sinful fall has ceased. We’re back in his favour and good books, because his Son Jesus Christ filled in our names there – way back in the most ancient of days. We belong to him and we’re destined to get back home finally. That’s the final chapter of the century long quest of mankind and all humanity. 

That’s why all over the world the celebrations are kicking off even now. We have all reason to be joyful and exited. God has given us his only begotten Son, so that all who believe in him, shall not perish, but live eternally at peace with him – now and for ever. So – let the party begin. The holidays are starting and we can praise and glorify our newborn king, who lives and reigns over all and forever – for us and our salvation. Amen.

“O Lord, How Shall I Meet Thee” by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676

1. O Lord, how shall I meet Thee,
How welcome Thee aright?
Thy people long to greet Thee,
My Hope, my heart’s Delight!
O kindle, Lord, most holy,
Thy lamp within my breast
To do in spirit lowly
All that may please Thee best.

2. Thy Zion strews before Thee
Green boughs and fairest palms,
And I, too, will adore Thee
With joyous songs and psalms.
My heart shall bloom forever
For Thee with praises new
And from Thy name shall never
Withhold the honor due.

3. I lay in fetters, groaning,
Thou com’st to set me free;
I stood, my shame bemoaning,
Thou com’st to honor me;
A glory Thou dost give me,
A treasure safe on high,
That will not fail or leave me
As earthly riches fly.

4. Love caused Thy incarnation,
Love brought Thee down to me;
Thy thirst for my salvation
Procured my liberty.
O love beyond all telling,
That led Thee to embrace,
In love all love excelling,
Our lost and fallen race!

5. Rejoice, then, ye sad-hearted,
Who sit in deepest gloom,
Who mourn o’er joys departed
And tremble at your doom.
Despair not, He is near you,
Yea, standing at the door,
Who best can help and cheer you
And bids you weep no more.

6. Ye need not toil nor languish
Nor ponder day and night
How in the midst of anguish
Ye draw Him by your might.
He comes, He comes all willing,
Moved by His love alone,
Your woes and troubles stilling;
For all to Him are known.

7. Sin’s debt, that fearful burden,
Let not your souls distress;
Your guilt the Lord will pardon
And cover by His grace.
He comes, for men procuring
The peace of sin forgiven,
For all God’s sons securing
Their heritage in heaven.

8. What though the foes be raging,
Heed not their craft and spite;
Your Lord, the battle waging,
Will scatter all their might.
He comes, a King most glorious,
And all His earthly foes
In vain His course victorious
Endeavor to oppose.

9. He comes to judge the nations,
A terror to His foes,
A Light of consolations
And blessed Hope to those
Who love the Lord’s appearing.
O glorious Sun, now come,
Send forth Thy beams so cheering,
An guide us safely home.

The Lutheran Hymnal Hymn #58 on Text: Matt. 21: 1-9
Author: Paul Gerhardt, 1653 original title: Wie soll ich dich empfangen
Composer of Tune Melchior Teschner, 1613: Valet will ich dir geben

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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