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O Come, O Come Emmanuel

When I think about waiting, what usually comes to mind is the woman at the end of the Mervyn’s ad. “Open, open, open…” I can’t think about anything else! And I suppose, that is kind of the point when we talk about Advent being a season of waiting. When we anticipate something happening, we tend to see everything through a lens of waiting for the big moment. Of course, this can cause us problems when it comes to failing to live in the present… (How often have you said this year, “If I can only get to the weekend?”) But this is not a post about that. This is about waiting for something someone who has already come; which means even as we anticipate His coming, we can experience it today as well.

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” -Isaiah 7:14

This time of year, Christmas music is ubiquitous. One of my favorite songs of the season is O Come, O Come Emmanuel, because it sums up the experience of Advent — the waiting, the watching, the anticipating on the front end, but also a reminder of who we are waiting for: Emmanuel. God is with us. This means we are anticipating a miracle — a miracle that will ransom us. Think about that word for a minute. Ransom is paid to gain the release of someone who is imprisoned. In order to appreciate the miracle of Christmas, we have to recognize our state on our own. Without Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, we are prisoners. We are captive to our own sin and the sin of the world, but God comes to be with us — to “put on skin,” that we might be set free.

6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; 
   I will take hold of your hand. 
I will keep you and will make you 
   to be a covenant for the people 
   and a light for the Gentiles, 
7 to open eyes that are blind, 
   to free captives from prison 
   and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7

As we live into Advent, let’s remember not only Who we wait for – God With Us – but our need for His coming. The sin in us and in the world doesn’t cease to exist upon Jesus’ arrival, but we are no longer captive to it. This is why we rejoice in Emmanuel. God is with us now – even while we wait for Christmas to come and even while we wait for Him to come again.

Keep our eyes open and show us how You are with us, even in our messy lives. As we study for finals, interact with friends and family, travel, and wait… Remind us of Your presence behind, before, and beside us in each activity. Thank You for Your Spirit that goes with us today, and thank You for Your son, who came that we may be able to choose abundant life in relationship with You.

Becky R, UMin Executive Assistant