† An Advent Prayer †
Two Advents of Jesus—To Save and to Judge
Lord Jesus, this sacred Advent season helps us remember how, long ago, in the fullness of time, You took on our flesh and blood. Unspeakably poor, You indeed made us unspeakably rich; coming without glitter or glory, as a servant of servants, You indeed obtained for us glory without end. Weighed down by the burden of our guilt, which Your Father had laid upon You, indeed You brought us freedom from sin, from its guilt and from its punishment. Grant that we may spend these days solemnly meditating on Your blessed advent in the flesh, that, confessing ourselves as lost sinners, we may in true faith accept the riches of Your grace and ever better comprehend its gracious significance for us, finding in it genuine comfort for our troubled souls, and planting our faith upon it as the one hope of salvation, both here and in our eternal bliss.
Some day, O Lord, You will return in the clouds of heaven—not poor and lowly, but as Lord and King; not despised by Your enemies, but filling them with fear; not to save, but to judge the living and the dead. Prepare us to greet You with joy at Your return. Guard us, for fear that we say in security, “My Master is delayed” [Matthew 24:48]. Instead, grant us grace constantly to bear in mind that we are sinners, to seek the rich treasures of Your grace, to receive You by faith, to watch and pray without ceasing, and by our conduct to prove ourselves a light and a salt in the world, to Your glory, whose truth we confess.
If we waver, make us firm; if we weaken, strengthen us; if we fall, restore us as You restored Peter; and finally when You do come, as suddenly as a flash of lightning, as a snare upon all the inhabitants of the earth, oh, then speak to us as You did speak to the criminal on the cross: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” [Luke 23:43]. Hear us for the sake of Your gracious advent. Amen.
Walther, C. F. W.. For the Life of the Church: A Practical Edition of Pastor Walther’s Prayers and Addresses (Concordia Publishing House)
† The Latin Titles of Advent †
In case you were wondering about those Latin words for the Sundays in Advent…
The First Sunday in Advent (Ad Te Levavi)
Ad Te Levavi, from Psalm 25
in Latin = Ad te levavi animam meam
in English = To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
The First Sunday in Advent is also known by it’s Latin name Ad Te Levavi, which means “To You I lift up”. This is the opening phrase of the Introit appointed for the Church’s worship today — To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. – Psalm 25:1
The Second Sunday in Advent (Populus Zion)
Populus Zion, from Isaiah 62:11
in Latin = Populus Sion, ecce Dominus veneit et ad salvandas gentes
in English = People of Zion behold, the Lord is coming to save all nations
The Second Sunday in Advent is also known by it’s Latin name Populus Zion, which means “people of Zion”. This is the opening phrase of the Introit appointed for the Church’s worship today — Say ye to the daughter (people) of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh – Isaiah 62:11 (KJV)
The Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete)
Gaudete, from Philemon 4
in Latin = Gaudete in Domino semper
in English = Rejoice in the Lord always
The Third Sunday in Advent is also known by it’s Latin name Gaudete
which means “Rejoice!”. This is the first word of the Introit appointed for the Church’s worship today — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
The Fourth Sunday in Advent (Rorate Coeli)
Rorate, from Isaiah 45
in Latin = Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustrum
in English = Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness
The Fourth Sunday in Advent is also known by it’s Latin name Rorate Coeli, which means “Drop down heavens” (The ESV translates as “Shower, O heavens”). This is the opening phrase of the Introit appointed for the Church’s worship today — Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness – Isaiah 45:8 (KJV)
Savior of the nations, come, Virgin’s Son, make here Your home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth, That the Lord chose such a birth.
Not by human flesh and blood, By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh— Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.
Here a maid was found with child, Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown: God was there upon His throne.
† Advent is a season for immersion in the words of Scripture, especially those promises of Christ’s birth, of His life-giving presence in His Church through the Holy Sacraments, and of eternal life at His final coming.
†Advent is a season of confession and repentance. It allows the Church to see her own sin-filled darkness, confess her sin, and receive the Lord’s forgiveness.
†Advent is a season of fervent prayer, the Church repeating to the Lord His words that He will come again. The Church cries, “Maranatha! Come, O Lord! Come quickly!” (1 Corinthians16:22; Revelation 22:20)
By practicing these disciplines in Advent, Christ leads His Church back to the relationship of absolute dependence He has established. So the Church waits in hope for the Lord’s final appearance. On that day He, who became what we are to redeem us, will clothe us in the life of His righteousness.
This is Advent—the Church’s journey to prepare for the coming life!
© 2003 LCMS Commission on Worship