All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us." (Matthew 1: 22-23)
It’s Christmas time… a season we equate with so many “things”. Lights, trees, the colors of red and green, family gatherings, Santa, gifts, just to name a few. I love Christmas. The air turns brisk and cold, I wait in anticipation for snow to blanket the earth, and hope fills my heart like it does no other time of year. Why do our hearts hope at Christmas? Because we know what is to come.
The season of Advent is about that hope for what is to come. In a way, we celebrate the art of waiting for Christ’s return. O Come O Come Emmanuel is a classic 9th century Latin hymn that beautifully illustrates this season of anticipation. The song is a plea to release Israel from the longing they feel for the Messiah to arrive.
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
These are words from the first verse - but it was originally intended to be the last verse - the climax of the song - where the culmination of all the other verses ended. This climax poetically offers the feeling of hope that enters our hearts more fully during the season of Advent.
What are you waiting for this Christmas? It’s a profound question, one not easy to answer. We spend our lives waiting for things… some good, some bad. Some are just things. But the waiting needs to have a reverence to it, for it’s more than just the waiting - it’s recognizing that God is in the moment. We are to live in this moment for him, while eagerly looking forward to His return.
Waiting equals hope. If there wasn’t the hope of fulfillment at the end of the wait, we wouldn’t wait. We would simply sit back and watch it all unfold. But Christ’s return deserves more than just watching. It deserves the excitement of our hearts, the longing for His peace, the anticipation for His return; for we are not whole without him. That is why we eagerly wait for Him to come.
O Come O Come Emmanuel… Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to us O Israel.
He will come, and we will rejoice.