O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


epoux_nymphios_cropped.jpgThe busyness of the week has only allowed time to journey through Brother Maynard’s book That You Might Believe Praying the Advent with the Gospel of John. I might add, it is great help in adding a fresh spiritual dimension to this season.

The hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel found on page 9 has captivated my attention this week.

O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns captive Israel
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou King of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
In ancient times dids’t give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

These words capture the frustration of a people who were familiar living and being in the place of exile. As a people, Israel was desperate for Emmanuel to come and make his presence known by overthrowing the powers that dominated their existence. Their desperation different than our more contemporary forms. They were looking forward, and we look back to the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. In the midst of our contemporary frustrations, confusions, complexities, and chaos it is good to know Emmanuel is with us — right here, right now.

As we have occasion to sing this hymn this advent, may we remember that it is a renewing and welcoming of Emmanuel into our own exile with great hope.

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