Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lo, How His Advent Bloometh

Originally this was written for the LWML 2009 Advent by Candlelight and is re-posted here for the Advent season.  And just like the previous post, Christmass is not misspelled.

Lo, how rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!  Of Jesse’s lineage coming as prophets long have sung, it came a flower 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 us a Savior, when half-spent was the night.
This flow’r 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.
LSB #359 “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”
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            Every year Christians around the world celebrate Christmass and the birth of Emmanuel, God with us.  This Savior of the nations, came the Heavens adoring as He was born in the Little Town of Bethlehem.  Therefore, we Hark the Glad Sound as we read of Gentle Mary Who Laid Her Child Away in a Manger.  As the Angels from the Realms of Glory once rejoiced, they still call the faithful to look to this Babe of Bethlehem.  O Jesus Christ, Thy manger is, my paradise at which my soul reclineth.  For there, O Lord, doth lie the Word made flesh for us; herein Thy grace forth shineth.  The need for a Savior was great for over all the curse of sin and death extended.    
           But in the midst of the Garden when God’s own created children rebelled against Him, He promised Adam and Eve and all of humanity another child who would crush the head of that ancient serpent, the devil, the great deceiver of the nations.  In the form of a curse, God promised this coming seed:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15).
Adam and Eve labored in toil and sin but not without God’s gracious promise, the joyous Gospel spoken in the face of such terrible events.  Eve thought that her first-born child was “the man” who would be their savior.  Now most English translations won’t pick this up, but Genesis 4:1 says that when Eve conceived and gave birth to a child she said, “I have begotten a man, the Lord.”  Why would Eve say such a thing?
She understood the promise that God had given.  She understood that deliverance from sin and death could only come by the Lord who would be born as a man.  The promised seed would be both God and man, but Cain was not this promised child.  Following in his parents footsteps He lived in sin and murdered his own brother.  Despite the sin that spread throughout God’s creation His promise remained in place for His people as they clung to this promised child.
Abraham received this promise from the Lord in the form of a blessing: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2-3).  And so the promise of the Lord continued and the seed was sown through Abraham’s lineage.
As time continued so did God’s promise to His people.  The prophets were heralds of this promise and proclaimed the coming Messiah.  No prophet was more prolific in his writing of this Messiah than Isaiah.  Hear the Word of the Lord from the prophet Isaiah:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign.  Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel."
This is the Son of David of whom the prophet Isaiah foretold:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.“  (Isaiah 9).
And again the prophet spoke: “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 will 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.”  (Isaiah 11).
The prophet Micah also foretold the coming Messiah:
“But you, O Bethlehem  Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin of from of old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2).
And as the day of the Messiah’s birth drew closer, John the Baptist cried out “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.”    This Lion of the tribe of Judah is Jesus, whose name means Savior, for He is born to save His people from their sins.
Mary listened faithfully to God’s Word saying “let it be to me according to your Word.”  As the angels sang, and the shepherds wondered, we too sing with joy and behold the great wonder of God in human flesh.  As Simeon beheld this child 8 days after His birth we still have His presence among us in Word and Sacrament.  As He once came wrapped in Human flesh He now wraps Himself in water and word, in bread and wine.  As we hear again this Christmass story, let us look upon this Christ child who is in all ways like us, yet without sin. And at the celebration of His birth we ponder these things and treasure them in our hearts:  The Gospel according to Luke 2 is then read.


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