>Advent: Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel

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Three Angels, from Marc Chagall’s advent series.

Advent is a time of looking to the future with hope as we look back to the birth of Emmanuel (a.k.a. Jesus). This hope was described by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome. He says:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

In light of those words I think of one of my favorite Christmas hymns:

Oh come, Oh 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, Oh Israel.

Oh come, Oh 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, Oh Israel.

Oh 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, Oh Israel.

Oh 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.

Oh 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, Oh Israel.

Oh come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, Oh Israel.

Oh come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace.

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, Oh Israel.

I too long for Emmanuels’s return and to leave the sufferings of this world behind. For this reason, and others, I love this time of year.

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2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, holidays

2 responses to “>Advent: Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel

  1. >That is one of my favorite hymns as well this time of year. Now I am off to dig out my Christmas music. Do you guys ordinarily (I realize this holiday season will be unique) do anything as a family to participate in advent? We would like to establish some Christmas traditions, but feel like we are inventing the wheel a bit as we both come from splintered families with scant meaningful traditions.

  2. >Marianne, thanks for stopping by. I wrote in an earlier post on how we (my family) don’t have any real Advent traditions. Sometimes I feel like a whole world of Christian traditions have been kept from me because I grew up a Baptist (therefore NOT one of those other Christians with their religious trappings, and especially NOT Catholic) and because I am in a church that is even more suspicious of anything that smacks of religion (for mostly good reasons, but sometimes it’s the baby out with the bathwater). So now I am in a similar boat as you, searching for good Advent (and other) traditions. I would really like to find healthy ways to celebrate the Christian calendar throughout the year. What I have found in general is that there is so much beauty in many of the traditions. On the other hand many traditions are tied into certain theological perspectives that are different from where I am.

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