Advent 4 Thursday
“And cheerfulness to men.”
The angels add this so as to say: “we would like to see that the whole world honored God and lived with one another in peace. But there will be many who do not respect the gospel and do not accept this Son, who, instead, will persecute him. May God, therefore, give those who are pious a glad, joyful heart so as to say: “I have a Savior; the kingdom of heaven is mine; Christ, God’s Son, is mine. Therefore, even if I am hurt because of this; even if I am persecuted; even if all sorts of misfortune is inflicted upon me for the sake of such faith and confession, I will not become impatient or angry because of it, but delight in it. No sadness, sorrow, or persecution, no matter how hard and great it may be, shall hinder or spoil my
joy and delight that I have in this newborn infant.”” The dear angels wish such a heart to all believers that they may have cheerfulness in adversity; and when the devil is angry, they may sing that they have Christ’s peace and are proud in him, stand firm in all misfortune, and even ridicule the devil when he hurts them, saying: “Devil, if you cannot do anything but attack my body, life, and possessions, you may as well abandon your plan because can do me no harm. I have an eternal Savior who will replace all bodily harm in eternity,” Matthew 19:29…”You shall never act so evilly as to spoil my joy I have because of this infant.” This is what the Greek word “eudokia” in this verse means: a cheerful, calm, glad, courageous heart that does not worry too much about how things go and that says to the devil and the world: “I cannot abandon my joy because of you; I also will not worry about your anger. Just do as you please; Christ brings more joy than you bring sorrow.” The dear angels wholeheartedly wish us such a heart by their song. The world does not sing this song after the dear angels, but the world’s song follows its god, the devil. He turns it around: “Glory to the devil in hell, strife on earth, and unwillingness and pure displeasure to men.” For this is where the devil drives his bride, the world, that it curses and blasphemes God, persecutes and condemns his Word, and then creates unrest, discord, disunity, war, murder, managing things so that no one may have a joyful moment, no one may eat a joyful bite of food without sadness and fear. The wretched sectarian spirits foster this, being the devil’s mouthpiece whose false doctrine shames and blasphemes God in heaven. But the dance commences in earnest when the devil incites princes and lords against one another by his harmful message, so that they promise the best to each other in public other only to do the worst behind each other’s backs. “This is just how I like it,” sings the devil. This is what it means to give glory to the devil in hell, creating strife on earth, and giving a timid, desperate heart to the people…The dear angels sing against it and wish us a courageous heart that can be bold and resist, even if things do not go well, even in all kinds of misfortune and adversity.