December 01, 2022

Christmas and Advent Hymns and their Story

“On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”

This lyrics for this hymn were composed in Latin by the rector of the University of Paris, Charles Coffin [1676-1749], for the 1736 edition of the Paris Breviary, and was appointed to be sung on weekdays during advent.
Since Advent is often misunderstood as a preparation time for Christmas only, this hymn gives us the chance to focus on the true meaning of Advent – to reflect on the 2nd coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The hymn, of course, begins with John the Baptizer, and it is based on Isaiah 40:3 – A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
The words of the Baptist ring out for Church today as clearly as it did for the people at the time of Isaiah. Without Christ, we whither and fade like grass [Isaiah 40:7-8], but in Him “our refuge and our great reward”, we are safe and secure.
In Genesis 15:1, God promised this to Abram – “after these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
When Christ first came to earth, he healed the sick, forgave the sins of many, and raised the dead. But when He comes again, all sickness will be destroyed, sin ill be no more, and all who believe in Christ will be raised, never to die again.

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken, for he brings glad tidings of the King of kings!

LSB 344

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