This year has been an interesting year, of transition and change, of hope and pain. This is a year in which I’ve personally had to lean deeper into and more firmly onto Jesus.
This is where the traditional church calendar can be really useful. We are in the close of the season of Advent – with Christmas Day less than a week away. Whilst I find myself in a Church whose specific parent movement is less than 50 years old, I am immensely grateful to, and aware of the debt that modern day Christians owe to church history and the movement and activity of God throughout the millennia. One of my great theological heroes – a flawed man, but used mightily by God – is Martin Luther, best known for writing the 95 Theses that sparked off the Reformation, and ignited an Unequenchable Flame of Gospel inspiration. Luther wrote widely, including some hymns.
I was delighted to find out that, in addition to his well known hymns, Luther turned his hand to christmas carols. ‘From Heaven High’ is one of these – and I enjoyed the setting of it to music that I found on Zac Hick’s blog. A beautiful balance of lyrics and music curated by Zac, Luthers words (Translated into english!) are wonderful. The journey of advent is a common theme of discussion – whether it be the shepherds or the magi, the holy family themselves, or our own journey through the months toward Christmas celebration, holiday rest and festive gathering with friends and family.
At the root of Advent, however, is one stunning journey, that ends with the thing that Christians recognise and tremblingly call ‘The Incarnation’.
Luther puts it well in his carol:
‘From Heaven High I come to Earth‘
This is what God does. We cannot go to him on our own – and so God comes to us. That is the radical truth of Christmas, which Advent focuses us on. Over the next few days I want to spend some few words focusing on and thinking about advent, preparing for Christmas. I won’t be sharing songs, but rather some passages that I think point so wonderfully to Jesus and can aid us at this time of year.