O Come, O Come, Immanuel 3
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.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
Advent comes in the period each year when the days grow shorter and the gloom of winter is near. Our need to look forward to hope becomes more intense. Yet, in the midst of this season, scripture calls us to hope. Acts 2:26-27 says, "Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; more over my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades." Truly this is the hope we have right now: hope that the one from Jesse’s stem will rescue and “from the depths of hell your people save.”
This is the promise of this season. God will come to us. God will rescue. And in the meantime, we prepare, we get ready. What for? For the coming of the one called the “Son of Man,” Immanuel, and live in expectation of this event. Mark 13:32 says, “But about this day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” We might not know the when, but, more importantly, we do know who it is we await: one who is victorious, even over death.
The future can look foreboding, maybe more so in 2020 than before, but we Christians are still to gather in worship to hear the call to hope and to anticipate the presence of our Lord who is on His way. In worship together, we lift our eyes beyond change and chance to behold that which is eternal. Because of the hope Jesus offers and His presence in our lives, we are able to lay down our burdens and have our fears transformed into hope, death into life and dread into anticipation.
This promise is timeless. Christ is being born anew in our lives again—He is always drawing near. So get ready! Get ready to accept the Christ child into your heart and homes as He comes to share another year with us. Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel—and into your own heart and life and to rescue your from darkness.
A prayer for today
Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end. Amen.
(Anglican Liturgies, 1939, p.77)