My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night”. Even if it isn’t your favorite, music listening statistics demonstrate I’m not the only one who really (really!) likes this song.
For Advent this year, we’re going to use this song to give us a pathway through Advent.
But first, what is “Advent”?
“Advent” means “coming”. There are two ways this word is used. In one way it can be used as “the advent of our Lord” or “His second advent”. “The advent of our Lord” typically refers to the time before Christmas while “His second advent” refers to His return. The season of preparation began, most likely, around the fourth century. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, however, that it was “standardized” as beginning four Sundays before Christmas Day. And that means Advent starts today!
Celebrating Advent helps keep us grounded in the true meaning of the season and keeps December from being nothing more than about a Christmas tree that will die and lights that will somehow burn out throughout the season long.
Verse 1 of “O Holy Night” is
O holy night the stars are brightly shining“O Holy Night”
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam, John Sullivan Dwight and Placide Cappeau
We need “a thrill of hope” because, without the light of Jesus shining into our lives, we are hopeless. Hope is a very powerful thing.
When the prophet Jeremiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of Jeremiah 33:14-16, his world was very hopeless. The Jewish people had witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in 586BC. They felt hopeless. Into that darkness, the Lord speaks through Jeremiah:
“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “ ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’Jeremiah 33:14-16
New International Version
When Jesus was born that night in Bethlehem, the Father was fulfilling His promise made hundreds of years before. The world wasn’t just sleeping; it was lying in its hopeless, sinful nature. Heaven was a dream and despair was the state of the human soul.
Then, Jesus stepped out of eternity. “The soul felt its worth…” Then, “the weary world rejoices” as the dawn of an age of hope rose over the darkness of our souls.
Imagine where your life would be without Jesus. Imagine your worth without Jesus. Then, praise Him for the hope He has ignited in your soul.
For further Advent reading this week, read and meditate on these:
- Isaiah 2:1-5
- Isaiah 64:1-9
- Romans 13:11-14
- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
- Song: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
- Song: “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”