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Thursday, December 22, 2016
Now your manger, shining bright,
hallows night with newborn light.
Night cannot this light subdue;
let our faith shine ever new.
Praise we sing to Christ the Lord,
virgin’s son, incarnate Word!
To the holy Trinity
praise we sing eternally.
Ambrose of Milan’s “Savior of the Nations, Come”
(tune: Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
St. Ambrose of Milan can be credited with the origin of communal singing in church. During a conflict between Arians and Catholics in the fourth century, Ambrose and his congregation were surrounded and barricaded themselves within their church for several weeks, fearful for their lives. Ambrose provided comfort and kept them calm by teaching hymns he had composed, like this one.
I often take for granted the freedom I have to practice my religion openly. It is so easy to forget that there are parts of the world, like North Korea, Iraq, and Syria, where Christians still face severe persecution for their faith. They don’t have the luxury of gathering together to worship and pray and sing during this Advent season the way we do. And while I think of my brothers and sisters following Christ in those countries, I can’t help but also think of my Muslim neighbors here at home who are facing increased levels of persecution for their faith. As we seek reconciliation and prepare ourselves to celebrate the light that entered the world through the birth of our Savior, let us remember that we are called to share that light with all of God’s children.
Gracious, merciful, and loving God, as we wait, watch, and prepare for the coming of our Savior, remind us how fortunate we are to live in a time and place where we can freely sing praises to you. May the light that you gifted to the world through your Son on that hallowed night continue to shine ever new through us as we seek to further your kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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