Christmas Devotional: Of the Father's Love Begotten
This year, A LuHi Christmas was based on the hymn Of the Father's Love Begotten. Let's see why this hymn still has meaning for our Christmas season today.
BY Hannah Buchholz
Earlier this month, our Performing Arts department presented its annual Christmas concert, A LuHi Christmas. The theme, Love Begotten, was taken from the Christmas hymn Of the Father’s Love Begotten. This hymn was written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius as a poem sometime around 400 AD and translated into English, and set to music in the 1850s.
Why would the words of such an old, latin poem still hold meaning for Christians today? As we prepare our hearts for Christmas this Advent season, let’s look at two verses from this hymn and find the scriptural truths in the song.
Of the Father's love begotten
ere the worlds began to be,
he is Alpha and Omega,
he the source, the ending he,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall
see evermore and evermore.
Of the Father's love begotten ere the worlds began to be
Here we find a fundamental truth about Jesus, the Son of God. He is an uncreated being, present at the beginning of creation (Genisis 1, John 1:1-4).
Aurelius wrote these words to combat a specific hearsay of his day: that before his incarnation, Jesus didn’t exist and is not divine. Scripture teaches us that Jesus, like the rest of the Trinity, is not a created being. Interestingly enough, there is confusion within the Church about this today. In the recent State of Theology study published by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research, 43% of Evangelicals believe that Jesus was a great teacher, but not God.
We can look to scriptures like Hebrews 1:1-3 and John 8: 58 to learn the truth of Jesus’ uncreated divinity. Hebrews 1:1-3 says “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
It’s a comfort to know that our Savior is not only fully man but also fully God. Colossians 2:9 - For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.
Oh, that birth forever blessed
when the virgin, full of grace,
by the Holy Ghost conceiving,
bore the Savior of our race,
and the babe, the world's Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face
evermore and evermore.
Oh, that birth forever blessed . . . And the babe, the world’s Redeemer
Many of us grew up hearing the Christmas story from Luke 1 and 2 and can probably recite parts of it from memory: the angel’s visit to Mary, Jesus wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger, the shepherds surprised by the heavenly host praising the Messiah, Mary treasuring all the memories up in her heart.
It’s a story we never get tired of hearing. Just like the gospel, we crave the constant reminder that we need a Savior and one has been given! It’s hard to fathom the idea of the Alpha and Omega as a small, vulnerable baby.
The truth that Jesus is fully man and fully God is an amazing aspect of our redemption story. Being fully man, He suffered and was tempted just as we are (Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 4:15) so he can relate to our struggles. He is close to us, just like His name Emmanuel declares: God with us.
The baby in the manger grows up to be the Savior of the world, bearing the weight of all our sins on the cross. And as the beautiful words of John 1 say, He is the Word made flesh, the Light of the World, and for those who do believe Him and receive Him, He gives the power to become sons and daughters of the Most High.
As we meditate on the Christmas story, we remember that our Lord and Savior has loved us since the world began. And we look forward to the second advent when He returns with a new heaven and a new earth to make all things new.
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