Advent Devotion for December 1, 2019

Reading: Deuteronomy 5:16

In Luther’s Large Catechism, we are taught that each of us has four types of fathers: fathers by birth, fathers of the household, fathers of the state, and fathers of our faith. There are many reasons to hold to the traditions of the Church, but one we often forget is keeping the Fourth Commandment. We are to honor our fathers in the faith. This is not a slavish obedience, but a joyful delight in our inheritance.

One such treasure is the use of the Great O Antiphons during the last seven days of Advent. The origin of these antiphons, or short prayers, is unknown. They are well over a thousand years old. They have been used with great regularity since their introduction to heighten the anticipation of the final days of Advent. Each antiphon uses an Old Testament title for the coming Messiah and bids him to come carry out the purpose associated with the title of the day. Beginning on the 3rd, each day will be an exploration of these antiphons, connecting their themes with texts from the Old Testament, the Epistles, and the Gospels.

Prayer: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have blessed us with a great heritage, following in the lineage of our fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Peter, Paul, and James; Clement, Ambrose, and Augustine; Bernard, Luther, and Chemnitz. Grant that we would treasure the gifts our fathers have given us and that these gifts would ever turn our hearts, minds, and lips toward Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Hymn: LSB 581:5

You are to honor and obey
Your father, mother, every day,
Serve them each way that comes to hand;
You’ll then live long in the land.
Have mercy, Lord!

(Mark Kranz, Sem IV)