In this season of Advent, I would like to know how your church is preparing for the Nativity of our Lord? In the Lutheran tradition, we observe the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day as a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord, both his first and his second coming. Like the season of Lent, we become even more aware that it is our sinfulness that is the reason why Christ had to leave his Father so that he could come and be our Savior. The classic Advent hymn of O Come, O Come Emmanuel from the 12th Century says it all.
O come, O come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
2. Oh, come, oh, come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
In Ancient times once gave the law
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
3. Oh, come, strong branch of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satans tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
4. Oh, come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home:
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery.
5. O Come Thou Dayspring, from on high
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
6. O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.
7. O come desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
May the Lord bless your preparation.