An Advent Hymn

The carol, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, is a 15th century German hymn that was translated to English by Theodore Baker in 1894.  The hymn is based on the prophecy that Jesus will be from the root of Jesse, David’s father.  Isaiah 11:1-2 says, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.  And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

The Lord Jesus descended from Jesse.  He came with the Spirit.  He came with a knowledge of our brokenness.  He came to save us.  This hymn reflects that, but O how especially sweet is the last verse!

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!

Life Theology

I’m Thankful for Toilet Paper, Coffee Cake, and God’s Love for Himself

Here are some things I’m thankful for that don’t usually find a place in your average Sunday praise song:

  • A quiet, dark morning with an open Bible
  • A turned-off television
  • Coffee cake
  • Toilet paper
  • Cars
  • Enemies who hate me
  • International vaccinations
  • Notebook computers
  • Sunshine reflecting off the frost
  • Headphones
  • Socks
  • A God who loves himself and is committed to fulfilling his purpose in me

You probably read the last one and said, “We sing about that!”  Really?  Do you really sing about God loving himself?  If God is committed to me, that’s fine and dandy, but if he fails to ever be committed to himself, he would no longer God because he would put something (namely me!) above himself.   Here’s how David says it in Psalm 138:

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Before God exalts me or you or the church or anything else, he has lifted up high his name and his word.  His name is synonymous with his glory (Isa. 42:8; 43:7).  His word is Jesus, the perfect manifestation of who God is, because Jesus is God (John 1:1-14; Heb. 1:1-3).

There’s much to be thankful for today, even little things like cars and toilet paper and travel vaccinations.  But the greatest thing to be thankful for is that God loves himself, because if that weren’t true then we would have a God who isn’t supreme and sovereign and holy and unstained and preeminent.  He’d be like us.  And that would be no God at all.