Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!
Words by Vs 1 & 2 a 15th Century Carol, Vs 3 & 4 Friedrich Layritz, 1875, v 5 John C. Mattes, 1914
Music by Unknown, 1599
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
2 Corinthians 2:14 – 17
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 4 – 5, 14
“I and the Father are one.”
The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.
Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”
The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”
John 10:30 – 33
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Have you ever noticed how an aroma can fill a room. It makes me think of those Sunday’s my mother made a roast when I was growing up. Before we would leave for church she would put it in the oven with its seasonings and potatoes and carrots. When we left there was nothing that would stand out. But when we returned we would step into a house that was permeated with the most wonderful aroma. It was amazing to see how this simple smell had reach every part of the house.
In the same way that this aroma filled our house while growing up, so Christ presence in our lives permeates every aspect. This theme can be found in the Christmas hymn, “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming.”
In this hymn we are presented with the image of Christ as a blooming flower. Now, in today’s age, this may seem an odd image, but it harkens back to an interpretation of Song of Solomon 2:1 where we read, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Now whether this passage is really speaking of Christ in colorful language or not can be debated, but the image is sound. The writer tells us that the birth of Christ is like “a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter.”
And so a vivid word picture is drawn for us. As the bright flower stand out amid the dark and grey, so Christ stands out in a lost world. As the flowers “fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air” (2 Corinthians 2:14 – 17), so Christ permeates every aspect of our lives. As the light “dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere”(John 1:4 – 5), so Christ drives the darkness of sin and death from our lives.
It is Christ alone who can permeate every aspect of our lives and give us the hope of new life in a lost world for “from sin and death He saves us.” (Romans 5:8) The reason Jesus is able to do this is that He is “True Man, yet very God.”
Fully Man and fully God. An image that is portrayed in scripture. He was a man of flesh (John 1:1, 14), and by His own testimony, one with the Father. (John 10:30) It is this that uniquely makes Him able to give us hope of a new life, that make Him able to save us from sin and death. He is the “Child of Mary, who felt our human woe.” He knows the trials and tribulations that fill out lives in this fallen world. At the same time He is the “King of glory, who dost our weakness know.” Not only does He knows the trials we face, but he knows our weaknesses and is able to give us strength to face them.
Christ knows and understands what we face and is there to lead us along the way. When we understand this and accept His gift, He will permeate our lives and drive away the darkness of the world. So we join in the final prayer of this hymn, “Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven, And to the endless day.”
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