Welcome to Advent

Advent is the historical church name for the Christmas season. It comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” Thus, Advent is the season of preparation, expectation, and celebration of Jesus’ incarnation (literally his “taking on flesh”) at Christmas. The Advent Season also points us forward to the Second Advent when Jesus will return at the end of the age to usher in his kingdom in the new heaven and new earth.

Each year I write a number of Advent posts to help myself (and you!) worship Jesus as God in the flesh, the one who came to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). This year, I wanted to start with a beautiful hymn that is based on the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-2 that Jesus will be from the root of Jesse, King David’s father.

The hymn is “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” written in 15th century Germany and was translated to English by Theodore Baker in 1894.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

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