Advent, Luther-Style

Christmas — what a wonderful feast of God’s grace, of his great gift to us!

Are we ready?

Luther, as usual, pulls no punches on how we ought to prepare:

The “way of the Lord” [John 1:23], as you have heard, is that he does all things within you, so that all our works are not ours but his, which comes by faith.

This, however, is not possible if you desire worthily to prepare yourself by praying, fasting, self-mortification, and your own works, as is now generally and sillily taught during the time of Advent. A spiritual preparation is meant, consisting in a thorough awareness and confession of your being unfit, a sinner, poor, damned, and miserable, with all the works you may perform. The more a heart is thus minded, the better it prepares the way of the Lord, although meanwhile possibly drinking fine wines, walking on roses, and not praying a word.1

Not exactly warm and fuzzy, but, dang, he’s got a way of focusing the mind, hm?

(And the first line, “The ‘Way of the Lord…'”, is certainly worth holding on to.)

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  1. Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, on John 1:19-28, Weimar Edition, 10.1.2.199.3-14, trans. John Lenker et al., The Sermons of Martin Luther (Minneapolis 1906), 1.124, altered. []