Week three of Advent has come to a close. It’s ironic that the closer we get to Christmas, the more stressful our lives become. We’ve been waiting and preparing and, now that the Big Event is almost here, we’re not prepared! (Of course, I say this and my family is due to arrive today for our family Christmas.)
And then I look at the world at large. I am astounded by the atrocities in Aleppo, Syria and Equatoria, South Sudan. Hate crimes are spiking across Europe and the US, and conflict continues to devastate civilians across the globe. Here in the United States we suffered through a demeaning, hate-filled, lies-instead-of-truth, politics of fear election. I see a quick sand administration loaded with pale, stale males. I see things I do not want to see, not only this time of year, but ever.
Seeing it all gives me the uh-oh feeling.
And then I remember it’s Advent. I remember to take a breath. I am reminded of John the Baptizer’s sense of isolation and abandonment, needing to be reminded to see all that God was doing all around him.
I remember it’s Advent and we are waiting for God’s way of deliverance, compassion, and mercy in this world. I am reminded that God has not abandoned us, but is coming to dwell among us. In Jesus, we are given an example to follow and a path to sojourn.
When I find myself seeing it all – the despair, the brokenness, the hate, the sick, the wondering, the horribleness in the world – I draw near to the One for whom we are waiting. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel becomes my prayer.
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 you, O Israel.
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain
O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain
O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain