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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

O Happy Home

A Hymn for the Family

#626 in The Lutheran Hymnal

How is it possible to achieve a continuing harmony and happiness in our Christian homes? At times it may seem to be an impossibility because of all the obstacles that there are to that goal in our everyday lives. There are the stresses at the workplace and at home, the quarreling and fussing among the children, the trying to stay on top of bills . . . all these join forces in an attempt to see that our home life is anything but pleasant!

The answer lies in the words of this month’s hymn. It was written by Karl Johann Philipp Spitta, who was said to be the greatest German hymn-writer of the 1800s.

Not all was pleasant for the Spitta family. They were among the Huguenots who fled during the Roman Catholic persecutions in France. Karl’s father died when he was four. His younger brother died by drowning at a young age.

And yet, when Karl looked back at his growing-up years, he remembered the happiness fostered there under the care of his mother, a Christian Jewess. This month’s hymn is said to be a description of his happy home life.

Happiness lies in the One in whom the Christian family trusts–the “Savior full of grace.” To Him parents cleave “in truth forever . . . in joy and grief make Thee their only Stay.” To Him “little ones are given early . . . in humble faith.” To Him, the “great Physician . . . ev’ry wounded spirit is brought.”

And how happy all of us will be when we join the whole family of faith “in the blessed home above . . . His everlasting home of peace and love!”

–Pastor Paul Krause