Daily Advent Reflection for Dec. 19

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel…”

Today in worship we celebrated the Festival of Lessons and Carols.  The choir, directed by Cynthia, and seven readers carried us through the story of Jesus’ birth.  It was lovely.  I feel as if those scripture lessons are written on my heart.  The story of Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, and wise men… and the babe lying in a manger.

Our first congregational hymn was the Advent classic “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  I love hearing that melody in the minor key.  It’s beautiful.  It’s moody.  It’s also a bit anxious.  As Jane discussed regarding the Longest Night service, Advent and Christmas can be very loaded times.  It can feel countercultural to focus on the darkness in a season filled with so much light and “joy.”  But we must remember that those darker themes are part of the original story.  Herod isn’t a cartoon character–he’s a very scary ruler who is threatened by this little baby.

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.”  What’s holding you captive this season?  What liberation do you seek in your life?

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One Response to Daily Advent Reflection for Dec. 19

  1. Ann Gilbert says:

    “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is one of my favorite Advent hymns. How many times have I sung that yet never been struck by the beauty of this line: “Love stirs within the womb of night.” I absorbed that, really for the first time when we sang it on Sunday. I offer it here on the Solstice in the deepest dark of winter.