Planning music for the advent season is always a compromise between enjoying and reinforcing the traditional and looking for music and liturgy that will cut through to the heart of creating brimming expectation for Jesus. Savior of the Nations, Come is a fairly obscure but ancient hymn that beautifully reflects the themes of advent as well as reinforcing the tenants of the Apostles Creed, the humility of Christ (Phil 2), His Intercession, and the gloried anticipation of his expected return.
Savior of the Nations, Come is an ancient hymn written by Ambrose (4th cent.) Ambrose is a well known Latin Father, preacher and mentor of Augustine. As early as 372ad Augustine attributes this hymn to the hand of Ambrose, originally composed in Latin as “Veni, Redemptor gentium.” Martin Luther picks up this text in 1523 and as part of his reformation translates it into German for his congregations. It is today probably one of the most beloved german advent hymns. It was first translated into English by William Reynolds in 1851. This translation comes from Calvin Seerveld who prepared it for the Psalter Hymnal (1984). See “The Hymnary” for more great info.
1.Savior of the nations, come,
Show yourself, the virgin’s son.
Marvel heaven, wonder earth,
That our God chose such a birth.
2.Not by human power or seed
Did the woman’s womb conceive;
Only by the Spirit’s breath
Was the Word of God made flesh.
3.Mary then was found with child,
Still a virgin, chaste and mild.
God had favored her with grace
To receive the Prince of Peace.
4. Christ laid down his majesty,
Passed through dark Gethsemane.
Though he left his Father’s home,
Christ now sits on God’s own throne.
5. Christ in glory intercede
For your creatures’ suffering need.
Let your resurrecting power
Soon complete the victory hour.
6. Praise to you, O Lord, we sing.
Praise to Christ, our newborn King!
With the Father, Spirit, one,
Let your lasting kingdom come.
Text: Ambrose, 4th cent., and Martin Luther, 1523;
Translation. Calvin Seerveld, 1984 ©
Tune: Enchiridia, Erfurt, 1524
CCLI Song No. 1335649