O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O-Come-O-Come-EmmanuelO Come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lowly exile here until the son of God appear.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Last Monday I wrote about singing when we are in exile – living in a foreign land. Yesterday we attended worship with John and Jackie at Linworth UMC in Columbus and the very first words of the service were from the haunting Advent carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  We mourn in lowly exile until the son of God appears.  What a beautiful way to begin the Advent season, the time of year when we wait for Jesus to make his appearance.

So many other things have already made their appearance this season.  There have been Christmas decorations out and Christmas sales since Halloween – and a few before!  Black Friday started on Thursday.  We can get jaded and cynical if we focus on the retail and commercial aspects of Christmas.

But we should never be jaded and cynical about the gift of Jesus, given to us by a sovereign God to a world that was unprepared and undeserving.  Yesterday the preacher, Gene Folden, reminded us that we are to be expectant during the Advent season.  When I think of expectant I think of pregnancy and Mary.  But Pastor Folden never referred to either.  Instead, he defined expectant as “thinking that something good is about to happen.”

I like that definition because, being a Browns fan, I can fall into the habit of expecting the worst.  But what if we look at the world and at each other with this expectant definition?  I believe that something good is about to happen in my life.  I believe that something good is about to happen in your life.  I believe that Jesus Christ is working to bring about something good in the world and he calls us, during this Advent season, to be prepared to help him.

We are waiting for an expected and promised future that looks very different from our jaded present.  We wait in a foreign land.  We wait in exile.  But we wait holding the gift of love incarnate given to us by God.  Rejoice, for Emmanuel shall come.