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Eurasia Blog Wednesday Devotion: “Savior of the Nations Come”

During the season of Advent, the Eurasia Blog will focus on four favorite Advent hymns chosen by the missionaries of the region. Today’s hymn is “Savior of the Nations Come” (Lutheran Service Book, 332) and was chosen by Rev. Matthew Heise, serving as a theological educator for the Eurasia Region. Below is a recording of the first two verses which Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman recorded on the organ at St. Trinitatisgemeinde. He is singing, as well. We will also be including pictures of Advent traditions or decorations from around the region. A blessed Advent to all!

Savior of the nations come,
Virgin’s Son, make here Your home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh —
Woman’s offspring pure and fresh.

From the manger newborn light
Shines in glory through the night.
Darkness there no more resides;
In this light faith now abides (LSB 339, 1-2, 7).

The sterne (star) hanging from the ceiling in St. Trinitatisgemeinde, Leipzig, a tradition in Germany. People place these stars up in their homes during Advent and Christmas, as well.

The Sterne (star) hanging from the ceiling in St. Trinitatisgemeinde, Leipzig, a tradition in Germany. People place these stars up in their homes during Advent and Christmas, as well.

(The original hymn is attributed to Ambrose of Milan (340-397) and was translated into a German version by Martin Luther (1483-1546).)

As the days grow shorter and the sun hides its face, we encounter very physically the presence of the darkness. This serves as a reminder of the spiritual darkness into which we were born and in which many still live. Rev. Matt Heise says of the musical aspect of this hymn, “there is an ardent longing expressed in the music that illustrates so well, I believe, the message Luther would have wanted to express. The solemn tone reminds me of the darkness that pervades our lives as the days grow shorter, but into that darkness of human existence comes the Savior!” Humankind longs for this Savior to come and bring light to bear on our spiritual and our physical darkness. But how will He do it?

He must do it by becoming man and this is why Luther and Ambrose emphasize, as Rev. Heise notes, the incarnation, and they do this by placing an “accent on Christ’s human birth [which] clearly shows the love of God for the salvation of humankind. We see that in the lines…’Marvel now, O heaven and earth,/That the Lord chose such a birth.'” Rev. Heise goes on,

But in order to save us, we needed the Son of God to become man. No other man could perform this task, and so…
“Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh–
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.”
So our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us as a baby, fully taking part in our humanity, yet still fully God (see also v. 4 of the hymn). In so doing, He shines light in the darkness so that the darkness is overcome. He shines light on all of our dark, hidden places, and drives out our hiddent sins, fears, and idols, destroys those dark places, and replaces them with His light, the light of faith. So light the Advent wreath, dim the lightbulbs in the room, and reflect on the one who came in the flesh as a baby to shine light into the darkness. The light may have seemed small, like the solitary light of this week’s candle. Yet it was all the light of our righteous King wrapped up in a tiny baby, and it destroyed all darkness that was, is, and ever will be. The Savior of the Nations has come and made the earth His home, and He will come again. And in Him the world will be all light with no more darkness; He Himself will be its light.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Light which shines in the darkness; send Your Light into the world through the proclamation of your Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection so that those who sit in darkness may have Your light shine on them; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
  • Did you miss last week’s devotion? You can still read it here!
  • Stay tuned for more devotions based on favorite Advent hymns throughout the Advent season.
Students at Berzsenyi Daniel Lutheran School in Sopron, Hungary, where GEO Missionary Melissa Karges teaches English as a Foreign Language, light the first candle on the school's Advent wreath and give a short devotion. Each week, one of the four senior classes is responsible for lighting a candle and offering a devotion.

Students at Berzsenyi Daniel Lutheran School in Sopron, Hungary, where GEO Missionary Melissa Karges teaches English as a Foreign Language, light the first candle on the school’s Advent wreath and give a short devotion. Each week, one of the four senior classes is responsible for lighting a candle and offering a devotion.

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