Written by Valerie Morse
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10)
During this time of being in our homes much more than we would like to be, I have been doing a Zoom study with some friends on the season of Advent. It has brought back a childhood memory that was sweet to recall. I remember sitting in my school desk, watching intently, as our teacher placed an Advent wreath on a table in front of the class…a bright green wreath with four candles, three white and one purple.
Now, childhood anticipation of Christmas morning begins as soon as the calendar turns to December, but transfixed on this Advent wreath, time became different, somehow. As a candle was lit each week, we would sing “O come, O come Emmanuel.” The song was so very different from any carols that I had ever sung. The excitement of a soon arriving Christmas morning was replaced with a longing that I didn’t quite understand…but, there it was. There was a sad longing, as well as an expectation in the words of the song that as a young child, I didn’t understand…but they drew me in.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel…”
The Israelites were being held in captivity in Egypt, working as slaves, and remained there for 400 years. But the whole time they were there, they were waiting…waiting for a Redeemer who would rescue them, as the Scriptures had promised.
“That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.”
There was that haunting sadness that I had felt as I had sung it as a child…but mixed with a deep longing…and yet, a certain hope. That promise kept their spirits up and made their loads lighter…the promise of a coming Redeemer, who would ransom Israel.
As this Christmas 2021 approaches, may our hearts be ever aware, even as those who waited so long ago, that we have a Redeemer. He knows our world situation. He came and walked this earth. Jesus took on human flesh. He knows our cares and concerns, our fears and our frustrations as this pandemic seems to have its grip on the world. Let us keep our eyes on our Saviour. May our Christmas carols ring out with confidence and joy. Rather than being dampened, may our spirits be lifted up in joyful certainty. ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!’