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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Next Day

1 Wake, awake, for night is flying,
the watchmen on the heights are crying;
awake, Jerusalem, at last.
Midnight hears the welcome voices,
and at the thrilling cry rejoices:
"Come forth, you maidens! Night is past.
The bridegroom comes! Awake;
your lamps with gladness take!"
Rise and prepare the feast to share;
go, meet the bridegroom, who draws near.

2 Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and all her heart with joy is springing.
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
Her dear friend comes down, all glorious,
the strong in grace, in truth victorious:
her star is ris'n; her light is come.
Now come, O Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son.
             Sing hosanna!
Oh, hear the call! Come one, come all,
and follow to the banquet hall.

3 Gloria! Let heav'n adore you!
Let saints and angels sing before you,
with harp and cymbal's clearest tone.
Gates of pearl, twelve portals gleaming,
lead us to bliss beyond all dreaming,
with angel choirs around your throne.
No eye has caught the light,
no ear the thund'ring might
of such glory.
There we will go: what joy we'll know!
There sweet delight will ever flow.

"Awake, Jerusalem, at Last"

Another reason Advent is "my favorite" (see Monday's devotion) is because of the many wonderful Advent hymns that easily fill these four weeks -- so many wonderful options to celebrate the season.

The author of today's hymn, Philipp Nicolai, wrote hymns while serving as a pastor in turbulent times of the late 16th century. He struggled with the invasion of Spain on the doorstep of his community in Germany, as well as with divisive debates with local Calvinists about Holy Communion. He wrote this hymn amid a period of pestilence and death: Over approximately seven months there were 1,300 deaths in his parish. He drew strength, courage and comfort from the promise of life eternal even in such miserable times. The words he penned helped celebrate God's gift of life. In the confusing and edgy days of Advent, we, too, can cry out with the watchmen, "Awake, Jerusalem, at last!"

God of all grace, we pray for your presence to bring life and hope in whatever Jerusalem we find ourselves this day. May we proclaim the hope that is your promise as we journey through this season of Advent. In your most precious name we pray. Amen.

Paul A. Herpich, '08
Retired, Liverpool, N.Y.

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