ALL PRAISE TO THEE, ETERNAL LORD
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:2)
INTRO.: A hymn which talks about the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to bring great light to those who walk in darkness is All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord. The text was written by Martin Luther (1483-1546). Originally in German, Gelobet seist du Jesu Christ, it was produced probably around 1524 but may not have been published until around 1535. It was translated from German to English by an unknown author in the Sabbath Hymn Book published at Andover, MA, in 1858. Anyone familiar with hymns is acquainted with Luthers famous A Mighty Fortress, but he authored several other hymns as well.
Several tunes have been used with All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord. One (Canonbury) is arranged from a piece composed in 1839 by Robert Schumann, which is most often associated with Frances R. Havergals Lord Speak to Me. Another (Perry Street) was composed sometime before 1911 by Thoro Harris. However, the traditional tune (Puer Nobis Nascitur) is taken from the Trier 15th Century Manuscript. It was adapted in 1609 by German late Renaissance early Baroque composer Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). The modern harmony was made in 1910 by George R. Woodward.
The song praises the Lord for coming to this world to show His love and save mankind.
I. Stanza 1 reminds us that Christ was clothed in a garb of flesh and blood
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.
A. Jesus is the Eternal Lord, from everlasting to everlasting: Mic. 5:2
B. Yet, He was clothed in a garb of flesh and blood: Jn. 1:1, 14
C. As such, He chose a manger in which to be laid following His birth: Lk. 2:1-7
II. Stanza 2 reminds us that He was born of a virgin
Once did the skies before Thee bow;
A virgins arms contain Thee now,
While angels, who in Thee rejoice,
Now listen for Thine infant voice.
A. Once the skies before Jesus bowed as all the angels of God are commanded to worship Him: Heb. 1:5
B. Yet, He was willing to come to this earth through the agency of a virgin mother: Matt. 1:18-23
C. Still, even in this the angels rejoiced at His birth: Lk. 2:8-14
III. Stanza 3 reminds us that He came as a little Child to be our Guest
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.
A. Jesus came to be our Guest by abiding in us: Jn. 14:23
B. As our guest, He gives us rest: Matt. 11:28-30
C. And He makes it possible for us to rise from earth to Heaven: 1 Pet. 1:3-5
IV. Stanza 4 reminds us that He is the Light of the world
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.
A. Christ came in the darksome night of this worlds sin to be the light of the world: Jn. 8:12
B. His aim was to make us children of the light: 1 Thess. 5:5
C. Our hope then is to be like the angels who round Him shine: Matt. 22:30
V. Stanza 5 reminds us that He did all this because He loves us
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.
A. All this Jesus did because He loved us: Eph. 5:2
B. Therefore, we should tune our cheerful lays and sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord: Col. 3:17
C. Our purpose in this is to sing our thanks in ceaseless praise: 2 Cor. 9:15
CONCL.: This is usually considered a nativity hymn about the birth of Christ. And while non-denominational, New Testament Christians must be careful not to give any credence to the man-made religious holiday of Christmas, since the birth of Christ is most assuredly a Biblical subject, there can certainly be nothing wrong with singing about it. As we think about the fact that Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth that He might die for our sins, we should be moved to say, All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord.