O Christ, our King, Creator, Lord,
Savior of all who trust Thy Word,
To them who seek Thee ever near,
Now to our praises bend Thine ear.
In Thy dear cross a grace is found,
It flows from every streaming wound,
Whose power our inbred sin controls,
Breaks the firm bond, and frees our souls.
Thou didst create the stars of night,
Yet Thou hast veiled in flesh Thy light,
Hast deigned a mortal form to wear,
A mortal’s painful lot to bear.
When Thou didst hang upon the tree,
The quaking earth acknowledged Thee,
When Thou didst there yield up Thy breath
The world grew dark as shades of death.
Now in the Father’s glory high
Great Conqueror, never more to die,
Us by Thy mighty power defend,
And reign through ages without end.
~Gregory the Great
This is not a Christmas carol but it is a hymn that has been on my mind the last few months– O Christ our King, Creator, Lord written by Gregory the Great. It is a lovely combining of melody and poetry. The third verse expresses what many Christmas carols say, but in its own beautiful way:
Thou did’st create the stars of night;
yet thou hast veiled in flesh thy light,
hast deigned a mortal’s form to wear,
a mortal’s painful lot to bear.
I love this image of the Lord’s life as a veiled light, “a mellowed brightness,” as another once said. Sometimes the pain of this world is crushing and sometimes the darkness very heavy. I think we tend to expect our own lives to be bright and merry, and we work on that and then when they are not we are discouraged. But Jesus didn’t work on that. He came to bear a painful lot–to enter into our suffering and the suffering our sins deserve–and his whole brief, glimmering life was bent on that one task, because of love for me and love for you. “For those you have given me,” he said when he was praying to his father. For that joy set before him, he became one of us. This gives me joy, and love for him this Christmas.