O Come, O Come Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lowly exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee,
Somehow my soul has always leaned into the mournful power of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. Even as a child growing up, I felt the shiver of mystery whenever the above song of longing was sung.
The hymn begins with a prayer so deep we seldom name its power: O Come, hope. O Come, deliverance. O Come, Dayspring from on high.
To begin the season of Advent, we name our soul longings. Surrounded by the many stuffs of our lives, we name the places of echo and want.
We name the longings for peace in our world.
We name the loneliness that sounds in our soul.
We name the hunger we feel for compassion made food for the hungry.
We name the near desperate sense we have that the antidote for all the brokenness in creation seems so long in the coming.
O Come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thy justice here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee
In the midst of the bustle of this holiday preparation marathon there is melancholy.
There ought be melancholy.
The promise and the gifting that is Christ Jesus is light and witness to answered prayers and gut sung entreaties.
And we know him not; not really.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
On this day give to God these questions:
For what does my soul long?
Who will I pray for during this Advent season?
How will I know my own call to live the vision of Jesus?
Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay