ADVENT WEEK ONE: WAITING – DAY FOUR

An Un-Christmas-Like Idea

When the old Christendom spoke of the coming again of the Lord Jesus, it always thought first of all of a great day of judgment. And as un-Christmas-like as this idea may appear to us, it comes from early Christianity and must be taken with utter seriousness.… The coming of God is truly not only a joyous message, but is, first, frightful news for anyone who has a conscience. And only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor. God comes in the midst of evil, in the midst of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And in judging it, he loves us, he purifies us, he sanctifies us, he comes to us with his grace and love. He makes us happy as only children can be happy.

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Luke 2:8–14[1]


Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Matthew 2:13–23

Come, thou long expected Jesus,

Born to set thy people free,

From our fears and sins release us,

Let us find our rest in thee:

Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth thou art,

Dear desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,

Born a child and yet a king,

Born to reign in us forever,

Now thy gracious kingdom bring:

By thy own eternal Spirit

Rule in all our hearts alone,

By thy all-sufficient merit

Raise us to thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)[2]


Grace to Cast Away the Works of Darkness

Romans 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Almighty God,

give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light,

now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility,

that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal,

through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

Book of Common Prayer 1892[3]


[1] Bonhoeffer, D. (2010). God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. (J. Riess, Ed., O. C. Dean Jr., Trans.) (First edition, pp. 8–9). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[2] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

[3] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

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