GOD PAUSE DAILY DEVOTIONS

Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
angels adore him in slumber reclining,
maker and monarch and savior of all.

What shall we give him, in costly devotion?
Shall we bring incense and off'rings divine,
gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
myrrh from the forest or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
vainly with gifts would his favor secure;
richer by far is the heart's adoration,
dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant redeemer is laid.


This grand, soaring tune was composed by James Procktor Harding (1850-1922) who worked for many years in the English Civil Service as a clerk in the internal revenue department. It seems unlikely that such an occupation would inspire lofty music, but perhaps his role as Choirmaster and Organist of St. Andrew's Church, Islington, England, inspired him.

The words of the hymn come from a poem written by Reginald Heber (1783-1826) who was a famous English pastor and poet, eventually serving as the bishop of Calcutta, a position responsible for all of India.

Heber identifies the infant Jesus as "the brightest and best of the stars of the morning," the light of the world who would cast off the darkness. The image of the morning star, the star that is particularly radiant just before dawn, highlights the royal splendor of Jesus who is revealed during the liturgical season of Epiphany. The third verse mentions gifts that remind us of the arrival of the wise men from the East, but the fourth verse reminds us that the greatest gift is our heart's adoration. The last verse invites us to follow the star to our infant redeemer.

Gracious God, our adoration may not be the best you have heard, but it is the best that we can offer. Grant us your blessing and help us to grow in faith. Amen.

Wendell Debner
Director Emeritus, Doctor of Ministry Program, Luther Seminary
Bachelor of Divinity , 1966


This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.