Waiting for Emmanuel


Waiting for

I was reminded just the other day that we’ve entered Advent (the liturgical season leading up to Christmas). When I was a kid, Advent was a big deal at my church. We changed the colors on the altar and the stoles on our acolyte robes. We’d start singing different hymns. One family each week would light the Advent candles, reading the significance of each week.

I sure miss attending a liturgical church this time of year.

I remember vividly how sorrowful I felt when singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. The longing in that hymn pulled at my soul. And I recall wanting so desperately to get to the chorus so we could sing “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

It’s a hymn about waiting. About sorrow and hope living together. Emmanuel shall come. But not quite yet.

This past weekend I was reading about the suicide bombing in Nigeria. Clicking through articles I came upon one with pictures. I didn’t know. I didn’t know they would be so close up on the gore. I didn’t know that they would be so real.

When I close my eyes sometimes I see those pictures again.

One of them was especially horrific. I clicked away from the article right away. And my first thought was, “Jesus, come get us”.

I’ve been praying that more and more often lately.

Jesus, come get us.

And today, with the trending news of terror and bombings and abuse and human trafficking, I say it again.

Jesus, come get us.

And today I hear that old refrain. And today I really listen.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee…

And today I sit, with sorrow and hope blended together, and hum that hymn.

Will you hum along with me?


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