To honor and celebrate Jesus hand-in-hand with the rest of God’s people, I have been writing prayers each week through Advent. Now that Christmas Day has come, I want to incorporate even more of the contribution and worship shared by others in God’s church around the world and throughout history.
I invite you to read the Scripture below, meditate on the hymn (“Lo! What a Glorious Sight Appears” by Isaac Watts), and pray the prayer, which is my own contribution to the stream of worship offered by so many hearts.
The Advent Prayers in my earlier posts were based on John 1 and John 2, anticipating and praising Jesus for his coming 2000 years ago and for the completion he will yet bring when he returns. In trying to continue that line of thought, I have not focused on a traditional Christmas passage here but on Revelation 21:1-7 in which Jesus returns and makes all things new.
It is the hope we have as Christians, not for some foggy and vague, eternal out-of-body experience, but instead for a renewed creation in which we get to participate and know Jesus fully. It is a beautiful concept to me that the Bible promises something so big, and it is the true and full hope that Jesus gives his people.
It gives me a reason to trust God, and I can think of no better idea for using in my worship of Jesus this Christmas. I hope it is helpful for you too. Merry Christmas.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the homeof God is among mortals. He will dwellwith them; they will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
(Rev 21:1-7 NRSV)
“Lo! What a Glorious Sight Appears” – Isaac Watts
Lo! what a glorious sight appears
To our believing eyes!
The earth and sea are passed away,
And the old rolling skies.
From the third heav’n, where God resides,
That holy, happy place,
The new Jerusalem comes down,
Adorned with shining grace.
Attending angels shout for joy,
And the bright armies sing-
“Mortals, behold the sacred seat
Of your descending King.
“The God of glory down to men
Removes his blest abode;
Men, the dear objects of his grace,
And he the loving God.
“His own soft hand shall wipe the tears
From every weeping eye,
And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears,
And death itself, shall die.”
How long, dear Savior! O how long
Shall this bright hour delay?
Fly swifter round, ye wheels of time,
And bring the welcome day.
Lord, Jesus, Creator of all things, we wait in expectant hope for you to make all things new. We praise you for your goodness in our lives and for the greatness you have promised.
You take the chaos of this present world and reform it into beauty and rest. Help us to become ourselves more truly, beautiful and perfect for you, our love, forever.
We celebrate, rejoice, and praise you that you came to be among us, to make us your people and to be our God. We look forward to the day the whole world can be made yours and you make your home and ours the same.
Tears, pain, and death are part of our world, but someday the victory you won by enduring the manger and the cross will be made complete, and we will know the life you give without these things.
We thank you for making the world renewed and seek ever to be experience your new creation today in our own lives and hearts. We trust you to keep your amazing promises.
We thirst for you and you give us fresh water for our spirits. You are the well that never stops flowing, and from you we receive all life.
We praise you, Lord, that in you we overcome, that at your coming you overcame, and in the end all creation will know that victory. We rejoice to be your children and worship you, our God. We long for you today and forever.
Come, Lord Jesus.