Sunday, December 02, 2007

O Come O Come Emmanuel

It is officially Advent, the time when the church turns its thoughts and collective longing toward Christmas. From the decorations and plethora of shop-window adverts in City Centre, it's obvious the marketplace has already turned its longing toward the spending season - but I'm talking about a much deeper yearning.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is one of my favourite Christmas carols, and it's been popping up everywhere this the Sheldonian carol service on Wednesday, then again at church this morning. We are longing for the Messiah to come. In some ways we are simply play-acting every year, knowing that He has already come. But in another way, our longing is real: we are waiting for the day when, as J.B. Phillips says, "even in the midst of what appears to us confusion and incompleteness, Christ will come again."

Like most people, I've got a great deal to do in the next 23 days. I am preparing for one of my twice-weekly jaunts to Canterbury Road as I type this, and there are two books to read, an essay and a proposal to finish, cards to write, gifts to wrap, tasks to do for Ron tomorrow, Christmas choir rehearsals, emails to answer and dozens of people to love on. Several different clocks are ticking, and I'm plagued by the feeling that one of them is going to go off and catch me off guard.

But for the next 23 days I'm also going to try to sit quietly and listen to the words of the song. He has come - He is coming - He will come again. Please come, Lord Jesus. Come be Emmanuel, God-with-us, again.

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

O come, Thou Dayspring, 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 Key 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


Blogger Anne Dayton said...

Amen. And I love the idea of spending time thinking about those lyrics in the coming days. I think I'll try to do the same. I know and love the song, but I never sit and actually meditate on what they mean.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Beautiful, so beautiful. Thank you for writing so freely!
- Jo

6:30 PM  

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