See, the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heav’n.
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all, to be forgiv’n;
For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
As we continue our Advent preparation to celebrate the birth of our Lord, we find that the world has already quickly moved on to the festivities; already there are lights, carols, parties, trees, and every other sign of the Christmas season. Already we hear the songs ring out: “Joy to the World!” “Peace on earth! Goodwill to men!” Amid our joyous preparation, who would weep? Who would, as the hymnist writes, “haste with tears of sorrow?”
The season of Advent, and the celebration of Christmas that follows, are indeed times of great joy. They are also times of great sorrow because, even as we prepare for Christ’s coming, we know the reason for His coming: us. He is coming because of our sinfulness and rebellion, and to suffer punishment in our place. The infant we await is, as John the Baptist cries out, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
So why the joy? Because our souls have been delivered from death, and the tears of sorrow that we shed have been wiped away by the Lamb. The birth of Jesus shows us that God does not forget His promises, and His promise has been fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. This is the reason for our joyous preparation for His coming, even as we bear in mind the reason for it. Let us give thanks to God for the gift of His only Son as we prepare to gather around the manger and see, along with the entire Church on earth and in heaven, the Lamb so long expected.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, in Your Son You have given us the Lamb who takes away our sin. Bless our season of Advent as we prepare for His coming, that we may receive with joyful hearts the salvation He has won for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Written by Theodore A. Hoham, Sem IV)