Thanksgiving is past, and Advent is about to begin. To decorate the Riverwood Blog for Christmas, I thought we'd do something a bit differently this year. To guide us through Advent, leading up to the celebration of the arrival of the Christ Child, we will use some prayers written long ago that celebrate the "indescribable gift" of Jesus given to us by the Heavenly Father. Each week, we'll learn a little bit about the author of the prayer, then let the written prayer help us connect with our Creator and thank Him for the gift of salvation given so freely through Jesus, the Son of God.
Our first prayer in this series was written by Augustine of Hippo, better known as St. Augustine. Augustine was born in 354 in North Africa. His parents were upper class citizens of the Roman Empire, speaking Latin at home and providing him with the best education of the day. Despite growing up with a mother who was dedicated to her Christian faith, Augustine become more like his pagan father in his early teens. In his famous memoir Confessions, Augustine shares stories of the draw toward sin, selfishness, and "error" revealed through his sexual exploits, thievery, and more.
As Augustine aged into his twenties, he found himself drawn to religion. He considered himself part of a non-Christian religion of his day, but began to question it in his late twenties. As he entered his thirties, he began to investigate Christianity, converting at the age of 31. He eventually became a priest within the church, and years later named a bishop to Hippo, a region in North Africa not too far from his hometown.
Jesus became central to the life of Augustine, for He had saved Augustine from his selfishness and sin. So it was with intensity Augustine labored in Hippo for over thirty years, preaching over 10,000 sermons to make the gospel known to everyone in the region. This is why it isn't a surprise that his ancient Nativity Prayer centers on Christ as the one who can free us from the tyranny of sin.
So let us pray together...
Let the just rejoice,
for their Justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
for their Savior is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
for their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
for their Liberator is born.
Let all Christians rejoice,
for Jesus Christ is born.
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