A 600 year old Christmas Letter

A 600 year old Christmas Letter

John Huss (Jan Hus) was a forerunner of the Protestant Reformation. He was a Czech university professor whose extensive writings earned him the ire of the Roman Catholic Church. He was excommunicated, condemned and executed for his teachings against the papacy and Roman Catholic errors. On July 6, 1415 he was burned at the stake while singing, “Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me.” His ashes were scattered in the Rhine river.

Two years before his death, Hus wrote the following Christmas letter to his church in Prague while he was under the ban from the Roman Church. Many of its expressions reflect the desires of my own heart for my family, church and friends.

Have a blessed Christmas!

To the Praguers
25 December 1413
Dearly Beloved!

Albeit I am now separated from you so far that it perhaps is not fitting that I preach much to you, nevertheless, the love that I have for you urges me that I say at least a few brief words to your love.

Lo! dearly beloved; as it were an angel today said to the shepherds: “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” And suddenly a multitude of angels cried aloud, saying: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Rejoice that today the infinitely Great is born a child, that there may be glory to God in the highest.

Rejoice, because today is born the Reconciler, in order to reconcile man with God and angel, that there may be glory to God in the highest.

Rejoice, because today One was born to cleanse sinners from their sin, to deliver them from the power of the Devil, and to save them from eternal perdition, and bring them into eternal joy, that there may be glory to God in the highest.

Rejoice with a great joy that today a King is born to us, to dispense the fullness of the heavenly kingdom; a Bishop, to grant eternal benediction; the Father of the future age, in order to keep us a His children with Himself forever.

A loving Brother is born to us, a wise Master, a safe Leader, a just Judge, in order that there may be glory to God in the highest.

Rejoice, you wicked, because the God-priest was born, who grants to every penitent absolution from all sins, that there may be glory to God in the highest.

Rejoice, because today the bread of angels, namely, God, became food for men, to refresh the hungry with His glorious body, that they may have peace on earth.

Rejoice, that the immortal God is born, so that mortal men may live in eternity.

Rejoice, because the rich Lord of the Universe lies in a manger as poor, that He may enrich us needy ones.

Rejoice dearly beloved, that what the prophets prophesied is fulfilled, that there may be glory to God in the highest.

O, dearly beloved, should there be but little rejoicing over these things? Nay, a mighty joy! Because a Redeemer is born to us, to free us from all misery, a Saviour of sinners, a Ruler of all His faithful; there is born a Comforter of the sorrowful, and given us the Son of God, that there be to us great joy, to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.

May the God born to us this day deign to grant us that good will, peace, along with joy! Amen.


Follow Tom Ascol:

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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