Devotion - November 21, 2014
Hymn of the Week
Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom,
For her Lord comes down all-glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious;
Her Star is ris'n, her Light is come.
"Now come, O Blessed One,
Christ Jesus, God's own Son. Hail! Hosanna!
The joyful call we answer all
And follow to the wedding hall."
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 206, verse 2)
Here Comes the Son!
Are you excited when dawn approaches? Do you cherish the sound of your alarm when it summons you from your sleep?
Back in the Middle Ages, the announcement of dawn was delivered in another fashion, and its arrival was sometimes dreaded for another reason. In those days there was a genre of music known as “Wächterlieder,” (Watchmen’s Songs). If a young man secretly went to visit a young lady during the night, his friend would keep watch for the arrival of morning. When it approached, he would sing this warning song in order to let his friend know that it was time to leave.
We sinners should be equally afraid of the piercing light of dawn. Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Sinners run from the light because the light exposes our deeds for what we are.
And yet, in this hymn written by Philip Nicolai and based on the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), dawn isn’t dreaded. Dawn brings delight. In this wedding scene, the bridesmaids have been up all night waiting for the watchmen’s announcement of the groom’s arrival. The wait has been long. The hour has grown late. Sleep has set in.
But now the bridegroom is coming. Rather than causing fear or sending us scrambling to sneak away, the dawning of Christ, the Morning Star, causes great joy.
Why? Yes, he is “all-glorious.” Sin has no place in his presence. But he is also “strong in grace.” When he came to earth the first time, he won the victory over the forces of evil. He suffered and died for all of our sins. So when he returns, having prepared his bride’s eternal home, the announcement of his arrival causes nothing but joy for those who have been watching and waiting.
In fact, the announcement of his arrival produces a reaction that no solid night of sleep or strong cup of coffee can produce: “Hail Hosanna!” Here comes the Son!
Almighty God, keep us ever watchful for the coming of your Son that we may sit with him and all your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven. Amen.
From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.
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