Waiting with Hope - that's what Advent is all about by Jeannie Blocher
When I was a little girl we always had an advent calendar in our house in December. My sister and I would take turns opening the
doors on the calendar each day as Christmas approached. As a child it helped me wait for Christmas day because I could see the progress as each door was opened. But my parents also taught me about who we were waiting for—Jesus! I knew that it wasn’t about waiting to open presents (although my childish heart was very excited about that.) I knew that we were waiting to celebrate that special day when Jesus came to earth. The baby was born in a manger. He is Emmanuel, God with us! As I have walked through life, the waiting and the longing for Jesus has become deeper in my heart with each passing Advent season. The music of Christmas has been a part of that process, including one song in particular.
The song Emmanuel starts with these words: “O come O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appears. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” https://youtu.be/SkvYR4BcHYc
Just as the chosen people of Israel longed for the coming of their Messiah, so we, too, long for Jesus to come. We long for his presence. We long for his healing touch. We long for his peace and his joy in our hearts. This song, set in a minor key, reflects that longing. It has gripped my heart and become one of my favorite Christmas songs in recent years. It is not a happy, bouncy Christmas ditty; it is a somber, sobering reminder that makes me emotional each time I hear it. It is a reminder of waiting, of trusting, of knowing that God has a plan for all things. And a reminder that he is with me: he is my Emmanuel.
For those of us who know Jesus, the Messiah, as our Savior, we are waiting for his return. For others who are still considering who Jesus is, and maybe this is you, I hope this will be the Christmas for saying yes to him and inviting him to come into your life and rescue you. Think about this as you listen to this song. Ask him to be your Savior, to be with you this advent season and always.
Note: There are two spellings of the word Emmanuel, one beginning with E and the other beginning with I, and both are correct. One links to Hebrew roots and the other to Greek roots. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (KJV)
Question: What does advent mean to you? What advent traditions and music are most special to you?
Prayer Power: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me a heart that longs for your coming. Fill my heart with your hope, your peace, your love and your joy this advent season. You are my Emmanuel. Thank you for being with me always. Amen.