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From the editor
There is always a mad dash to Christmas. From the moment the last turkey leg and the final dollop of gravy are put in the refrigerator on Thanksgiving evening (or, if we’re being honest, from the time the last piece of Halloween candy is gulped down), we sprint to get to Christmas.
But our Lord doesn’t work that way. He will not be rushed. He takes His time. He is slow and deliberate. He gives us Advent, causing us to measure our pace, take a deep breath and move intentionally through this time in the Church Year to Christmas.
The songs and prayers of Advent and Christmas help in this regard too. They knowingly turn us again to Christ, to His work on the cross and to His love for us, a love that is enduring, patient and lasting.
The December issue of The Lutheran Witness will pace us too, slowing our frenzied rush to Christmas. Within these pages, you will find the seven “O Antiphons,” explained by Kantor Kevin Hildebrand to be small refrains that are prayed daily. The seven you will read about this month (one for each day from December 17 to December 23) are the seven stanzas paraphrased in the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
In “The Greatest Wisdom,” First Vice-President Herb Mueller explains Jesus as the ultimate wisdom, the one who works what is evil for our good. “Here Comes the Boss,” by LCMS North Wisconsin District President Dwayne Lueck, shows Christ as our ruler, one who comes in majesty to redeem us in love. LCMS English District President and Bishop David Stechholz points us to the Root of Jesse, our own Christ Jesus, and His deliverance of His people in “Come Quickly.”
“Preparing Souls,” by Fourth Vice-President Nabil Nour, presents Jesus as the key that unlocks the door to heaven . . . for us! In Mid-South District President Roger Paavola’s “Breaking Dawn,” we see Jesus as the Dayspring from on high, He who shines light in our dark, sin-filled world.
LCMS Montana District President Terry Forke’s “King in the Clay” pleads with Jesus, our King, to come and save our human race. And in “Confident Anticipation,” by LCMS Oklahoma District Barry Henke, we see Jesus as our Emmanuel, who comes to us still today in His Word, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
You’ll also learn about Mary’s Song, the Magnificat, in “A Hymn for All Seasons” by LCMS Central Illinois District President Mark Miller, who reminds us that what Mary confesses about Christ and His mercy are the same things we still confess today.
There is a great temptation to rush through Advent and right into Christmas. But our Lord is methodical and patient, and so it is that we slow our pace during this Church Year season as well, praying the O Antiphons with the Church of all ages, confessing Christ and His mighty deeds, and waiting with joyful anticipation for the birth of our Savior, the one whose timing, while measured, is always and absolutely perfect.
Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness