Wednesday, November 27

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

It's hard to pick my favorite season of the church year.  It would likely be a cop-out to say that whatever season we are in is my favorite, but there is something wonderful about each of them.  However, my favorite just might be Advent.

Advent means 'coming'.  During Advent we anticipate the coming of our Savior - past, present, and future - and wait with joy and longing.  Yes, Christmas is nice.  In fact, it's wonderful.  At Christmas Christ became incarnate.  God's love for us is so great that he put Himself into a world corrupted by sin.  How strange and marvelous!  But as with a long-awaited vacation, the planning and anticipation are at least half of the excitement.  Advent lets us look forward with delight and gladness to the fulfillment of God's promise to us, namely a Savior, who will free us from Satan's power, make us right before God, and eventually, finally, take us to be with him forever.

The world waits only for things.  They wait for that which rust and moth may destroy.  The children of God, meanwhile, wait for the riches of the heavenly King.  The gift of God is eternal life, through the Christ for whom we now wait.

And so, with deep yearning and wonder, and confident that we possess now, and shall possess on that final day, that which was promised - a ransom who died our death, for our sins - we rejoice in anticipation.  Our certainty is in Christ, our most precious gift, even as we wait for his second Advent.

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 Wisdom from on high,
Who ord'rest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
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 didst give the Law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Branch of Jesse's tree,
Free them from Satan's tyranny
That trust Thy mighty pow'r to save,
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

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