Text: Liturgy of St. James; tr. Gerard Moultrie, 1864
Tune: PICARDY, French 17th c.
This Advent hymn is my new favorite. It has everything. Past and Present. Heaven and Earth. Son of God and Son of Man. And an incredible reverence that I sometimes lose this time of year.
Jesus is the King of heaven. He is the Lord of the earth. But he came to earth as a man – and not just a man, but a baby. Last night I was giving my six-month-old a bath and I was struck by the realization that Jesus was once a crawling, drooling, chubby little person. Amazing and completely unexpected.
After Jesus was born, angels appeared to some shepherds. These angels proclaimed the news to the shepherds – and it’s recorded in the Bible for the world to know as well. A huge number of heavenly host shouted it out – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14) When I think about all the evil and injustice and suffering all around us, I long for the peace proclaimed by the angels that night. Their message brings hope to a broken world just as much today as that night so many years ago.
And then a glimpse of heaven where Jesus Christ sits on the throne surrounded by ceaseless worship. If you’re going to church tonight or tomorrow, this risen, exalted powerful Jesus is why we gather, why we sing, why we hope and why we celebrate. Merry Christmas, friends!