Editor's note: "An uncommon Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.

December 20 – Soli Deo Gloria!

Isaiah 40:18-41:10 and Revelation 8:1-13

Soli Deo Gloria means “Glory to God Alone.” Johann Sebastian Bach would write the initials S.D.G at the end of his compositions. Not as well-known was that before Bach composed a piece he would pray, “Jesus,help me show your glory through the music I write.” And then, he would write the letters “JJ” (Jesus Juva; Latin for “Jesus help”) at the beginning of the music.

I am a PK, a pastor’s kid! Besides working in maintenance, my other vocation of 38 years is church organist. One of my memories growing up is playing my first church service on the organ around 15 years old. I was “asked” by dad to play at a new weeknight service. There was not a budget to pay the regular organist, so that added to my qualifications. I can remember that evening, waiting, looking out the windows of the church, and praying to God that no one would show up for the service. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God?(Isaiah 40:27)

Were my prayers being ignored? As the time for the service to start crept closer, I was feeling nervous, alone, wanting to be anywhere else but there. Seven brave people came that night, and my prayers changed to asking God to give me the strength to play to the best of my ability. (“JJ”)But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.(Isaiah 40:31) My memory of that first service was more of the expectation and the anticipation of playing before the service, and finally, the joy and celebration of making it through the service.

As the third week of Advent continues, some churches use a rose-colored Advent candle in the Advent wreath. The candle symbolizes a change in the Advent season, from expectation and anticipation to celebration and rejoicing! Why? Because God loves us so much that He sent His Son into the world to save us! Whenever we ask Jesus for help in our lives,the answer to our prayers might not be what we want because God has something even better planned for us. And, in all things we do, give the Glory to God alone. Soli Deo Gloria!

Stephen V. Hibbard is the Facilities Director at Concordia University Wisconsin and has served at the university since 1999. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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