“All My Heart Again Rejoices” (ELW 273)
1 All my heart again rejoices as I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices;
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing, till the air ev’rywhere now with joy is ringing.
2 Jesus’ voice from lowly manger softly thus calls to us: “You are safe from danger; come and see; from all that grieves you you are freed; all you need I will surely give you.”
3 Come, then, let us hasten yonder; here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder; love him who with love is yearning; hail the star from far bright with hope is burning.
4 You, dear Lord, I’ll ever cherish; though my breath fail in death, I will never perish: by your side in light eternal I shall be endlessly filled with joy supernal.
It is said that Paul Gerhardt wrote this hymn after he returned home from officiating at funerals of still more members stricken by the plague. We know that Gerhardt’s 17th century ministry was surrounded by difficulties—including the pandemic, and the Thirty Years War.
Yet, in this hymn, what great comfort Gerhardt claims. Emmanuel—God with us! His birth brings with it the assurance of God’s presence—in our direst moments, and even into death, and beyond—into eternity.
With each text appointed for this week, we’ve seen another facet of God’s presence in the human story. For Jonah, the stubborn prophet, and a foreign people—there is God; for Paul, bearing the burden of ministry while imprisoned and weary—there is the living Christ; for the workers who bear the heat of the day, as well as the ones down on their luck—there is Emmanuel, sharing gracious abundance.
“Here, let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder.”
We praise you, living Lord, for your presence with us—always, and forever. Amen.