O Come, O Come, Emmanuel- an Advent devotional for Dec. 21, 2017

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This Advent season I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

As Advent nears its end, the stanzas of the great O Antiphons may be sung. We sang many of these verses from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” last night at “Beer and Carols” in Tekamah. It was so much fun to help lead the music with Allison and our friend Tyler at the Chatterbox, with many of the people from Emmanuel Lutheran in Tekamah, even if the weather made the drive a bit slower than usual.

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 you, O Israel.

O come, O Wisdom from on high, embracing all things far and nigh:
in strength and beauty come and stay; teach us your will and guide our way.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O come, O Lord of might, as to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times you gave the law in cloud, and majesty, and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Branch of Jesse, free your own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer; O Sun of justice now draw near
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadow put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O King of nations, come, O Cornerstone that binds in one:
refresh the hearts that long for you; restore the broken, make us new.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

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 you, O Israel.

Some hymns and carols just speak for themselves. This one I believe is one of them. We plead for God with us, Emmanuel. We hope for peace, salvation, redemption, justice, and restoration. At the same time the snow and ice have come to Nebraska. So, as the last week before Christmas comes to a close, may you take some time to slow down, to pray, to be present, and to rejoice.

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Credit/Reference: French processional, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 257.

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