A Christmas Devotion

My mother, Edith Olson wrote this many years ago for an Advent devotional and it is a favorite of mine: 

Oh, how shall I receive thee? 

How greet thee Lord, a right? 

All nations long to see thee

My hope, my heart’s delight.

O kindle, Lord most holy, 

The lamp within my breast,

To do in Spirit lowly

All that may please thee best.

If I were to be asked my favorite Advent hymn, I undoubtedly would name this one. For me, it’s the ultimate in mood-setting for the special season. 

Musical instructions indicate that it is one to be sung vigorously with spirit. And that, most certainly seems fitting for after all, this is a vigorous time of the year. Movement is all around!

Yet we can't sing the words to this, or any Advent hymn, without hearing the message of our coming Savior and King and feeling a sense of awe as we remember the sacrifice made on our behalf. “Love, caused thine incarnation. Love brought thee down to me.” What a special reminder. 

As we prepare for this Christmas season, we need to take time to be joyful. We need to sing jubilantly as we anticipate the birth of the Child who came to Earth to die for our sins. However, we need to take time for personal reflection, study, and meditation as well. We need to consider the question, “Oh, how shall I receive thee?” Then we will open ourselves, prepare ourselves, refresh ourselves as we pray for a deepening of our faith. Let us prepare to receive the message of Christmas as we seek to receive loving hearts that will better equip us to witness in God's kingdom on Earth.

Submitted by Alice Anderson