December 5

All Praise to Thee Eternal Lord

By the beginning of the 16th century, the Church was in desperate need of reform.  The Scriptures, songs, and liturgies that filled the worship services were in languages foreign to most people.  In the “high church,” God was kept distant from the people who were “lowly” and less educated. 

Though this was the pattern of the church in the middle ages, it was not the plan of God.  God does not require that we speak Latin to know Him or read His Word, and Martin Luther knew it.  Luther set out on a mission to strip away the mystery of the church regalia to return the beauty of the Gospel to the people.  Luther translated the liturgy, the Scripture, and the songs of the church from Latin into German — the language of his fellow countrymen.

One song that Luther translated was “All Praise to Thee Eternal Lord” a Christmas song written by Gregory the Great in the sixth century.  One of the lines of this song states, “A little Child, Thou art our guest, That weary ones in Thee may rest; Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth, That we may rise to heaven from earth.”

This line reminds us that God has not stayed distant, speaking foreign languages.  He came us in the lowest common denominator – a human baby – so that ALL of us may know who He was and so that all of us would have a chance to find rest and rise to heaven one day.  As John 1:14-18 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . .  For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. . .   No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He (Jesus) has made Him known.”

Luther translated “All Praise to Thee Eternal Lord” into German – what a gift!  Jesus “translated” an understanding of who God is to the world – what an unbelievable gift!  Today, sing a really, really old song and be thankful for the translation of God’s glory that Jesus has done for us:  because He came, we can know God.

All Praise to Thee Eternal Lord

All praise to Thee, eternal Lord,

Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;

Choosing a manger for Thy throne,

While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.

Once did the skies before Thee bow;

A virgin’s arms contain Thee now,

While angels, who in Thee rejoice,

Now listen for Thine infant voice.

A little child, Thou art our guest,

That weary ones in Thee may rest;

Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth;

That we may rise to Heaven from earth.

Thou comest in the darksome night

To make us children of the light;

To make us, in the realms divine,

Like Thine own angels round Thee shine.

All this for us Thy love hath done;

By this to Thee our love is won;

For this we tune our cheerful lays,

And sing our thanks in ceaseless praise

To access all 31 days of “The Christmas Carols” Devotional, click here.

To access playlists for all 31 songs, visit:

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