Commentary from THE ANNOTATED
BOOK OF COMMON
PRAYEREdited by JOHN HENRY BLUNT
Rivingtons, London, 1884
FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
The four Sundays in Advent set forth, by the Holy Scriptures appointed
for them, the Majesty of our Lord's Person and Kingdom. Christmas
is to represent before us the lowliness to which the Eternal God condescended
to stoop in becoming Man: and we begin on that day the detailed observance
of each great Act in the mystery of the Incarnation. Before coming
to Bethlehem and seeing the Holy Child in the manger, we are bidden to
look on the glory which belongs to Him; and, ere we look upon the Babe
of the humble Virgin, to prepare our hearts and minds for the sight by
dwelling on the keynote which sounds in our ears through Advent, "Behold,
thy King cometh:" a meek and lowly Babe, but yet Divine.
In this spirit the old Introit for the First Sunday was chosen, "Unto
Thee lift I up mine eyes: O my God, I have put my trust in Thee..." though
not without reference also to the humble dependence upon His Father with
which the Son of God took human nature, and all its woes, upon Him.
Lifting up our eyes to the Holy Child, we behold Him from afar, and "knowing
the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep," we hear the
cry, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh," to His Church in a first Advent of
Humiliation and Grace, and a second Advent of Glory and Judgement.
For each Advent the Church has one song of welcome, "Hosanna to the Son
of David; Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in
the highest. Even so come, Lord Jesus."
The Christian year opens, then, on this Sunday with a direct representation
of our Lord Jesus Christ to us in His Human Nature, coming to visit us
in great humility in "this mortal life," as well as in His Divine Nature,
to be the Object of our Adoration. We cannot do otherwise than love
the Babe of Bethlehem, the Child of the Temple, the Son of the Virgin,
the Companion of the Apostles, the Healer of the Sick, the Friend of Bethany,
the Man of Sorrows, the Dying Crucified One: but we must adore as well
as love; and recognize in all these the triumphant King of Glory Who reigns
over the earthly Sion, and over the heavenly Jerusalem. No contemplation
of the Humility of the Son of Man must divert our eyes from the contemplation
of His Infinite Majesty of Whom the Father saith when He bringeth in the
First-Begotten into the world, "Let all the angels of God worship Him."