Sunday, December 22, 2013

Come to the Feast of Love

As many of you know, I love Christmas songs, Love them. They are filled with a kind of wonder, radiance, and reverence that just fills my soul.

And every year, I seem to have a new favorite Christmas carol. Of course I love them all. Because, I mean, it's Christmas. But every year, there seems to be one which resonates with me more than others.

Last year it was "What Child is This?" Что за Дитя . Christmas 2012. Харьков, Украина. Kharkov, Ukraine. Forever in my heart. 

This year . . . well, this year my favorite is "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." For so many reasons. 

-The melody is just beautiful. It is full of longing and hope. Plaintive. A prayer. Our prayer. We, who are lost, lonely, forsaken, forgotten. Captive Israel. It is our prayer. It is my prayer. Come, Lord Jesus. O come, o come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel. Rescue me. 

-The words. Oh, the words. They are--they are holy:

"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 thee, O Israel. 

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel. 

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here. 
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel." 

There is so much beauty, power, suffering, and hope in those words. 

It is a hymn for us. In our time. Today. 

-Another reason . . . well, if you couldn't already guess, another reason I love this song is because of the mission. 
It is because I labored in the Lord's Vineyard for 18 months in Ukraine. 
A served and loved God's children there. 
Wept with them . . . and for them. 
Laughed with them. 
Prayed with them. 
And they are quite literally "captive Israel." The House of Israel. Children of His promises. They have been lost. But now are found. They are being gathered in. One-by-one. "Thus Zion's light is bursting forth to bring her ransomed children home.
This is their story. This is their song: "Who mourn in lonely exile here/Until the Son of God appear." 

They have been in the dark for so long--"searching in darkness, nations have wept; watching for dawn, their vigil they've kept. All now rejoice, the long night is o'er--truth is restored once more!" 

Their time is now. Our time is now. The day is here: 

"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to thee, O Israel." 

Christ, the healer of nations, is come. 
He was born to bring light. 
He is risen to give life. 
He lives to free, heal, love, and bless. 
Prince of Peace.
King of Kings.
God is with us.

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." --Isaiah 7:14

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." --Isaiah 9:6

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. Eliza lives this song this year, too. It's adorable to hear her sing it.