Come, Deliver This World, and Us, Forever

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel’s warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.

This night of wonder, night of joy,
was born the Christ, our brother;
he comes, not mighty to destroy,
to bid us love each other.
How could he quit his kingly state
for such a world of greed and hate?
What deep humiliation
secured the world’s salvation!

Come, dearest child, into our hearts,
and leave your crib behind you!
Let this be where the new life starts
for all who seek and find you.
To you the honor, thanks, and praise,
for all your gifts this time of grace;
come, conquer and deliver
this world, and us, forever.

Words, verse 1: Johann Rist, 1641;
trans. John Troutbeck, ca. 1885; Words: vv. 2 & 3 by Fred Pratt Green

_______________________________________________________

The first time I ever heard this carol was when my father picked it for our family to sing for a church “gift exchange”.  I thought it odd.  I’d not heard it before and wondered why we couldn’t just sing something more familiar — some nice simple Christmas carol about that night in Bethlehem.

As an adult, however, I have come to understand and therefore love this hymn.  Let’s take a walk through it and I’ll explain why:

Verse 1:

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel’s warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.

Oh, how I have grown to see the darkness of the world we live in!  Evil really does exist.  School shootings, terrorists, destructive relationships in families that effect the children– these are but a few of the dark things that weigh on my mind.  And sometimes that darkness seems overwhelming, not only to me, but evidently to many others.  Today is December 21 — the winter solstice. When I picked this carol, the first line made me think about that so I looked up celebrations for the winter solstice.  One website suggested a “Candlelight Ceremony” where all the lights are out and participants “remember and honor the sun’s light” before starting with a big candle and lighting smaller one’s off  of it to fill the room with light.  Sound familiar?  We will be doing this during this Advent season.  HOWEVER, we will do it to honor the SON — that child spoken of in this verse who came to break the power of darkness — Satan’s power — and give us peace.  It is He who created the light of morning; it is He who is the Source, not only of that physical light but also of the light which overcomes the darkness of our world.

Verse 2:

This night of wonder, night of joy,
was born the Christ, our brother;
he comes, not mighty to destroy,
to bid us love each other.
How could he quit his kingly state
for such a world of greed and hate?
What deep humiliation
secured the world’s salvation!

Though my reason for picking this hymn is mostly found in verse 1, I had to highlight verse 2 for one simple reason.  The song “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns has been an important one for me this past year as it has made me realize that Jesus left the glory of Heaven — His “kingly state” referred to in this carol,  to come HERE — to this dark, fallen world!  What a sacrifice!  It has struck me this year as I lament the evil and darkness of the world around me; Jesus willingly came here, knowing how messed up this world is, to “secure the world’s salvation!”  What a gift!

Verse 3:

Come, dearest child, into our hearts,
and leave your crib behind you!
Let this be where the new life starts
for all who seek and find you.
To you the honor, thanks, and praise,
for all your gifts this time of grace;
come, conquer and deliver
this world, and us, forever.

So today, let us honor, give thanks to ,and praise Jesus, the Son of God, who came to break the power of darkness in this world and in us.  Let our prayer truly be “Come, conquer and deliver this world, and us, forever.”  And may that prayer give us purpose and peace as we live our lives for Him.

~Tricia Hitchcock

 

 

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