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Reflections

Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email,  provide your email address.

Friday, December 04 2020

"O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear."
-First stanza of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

As we near the second Sunday in Advent and inch closer to Christmas Day, I can't help but feeling like Advent 2020 is the most "Advent-y" of Advents I've ever experienced. We are all waiting for the pandemic to end and waiting for a vaccine. Many of us are waiting for the day when we can see friends and family again that we haven't seen in 8 months. I'm waiting to get back to Japan. I sure wish December 25 marked not only the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus but also the return of normal life.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is such a wonderful hymn. The original melody is found in a 15th century religious manuscript, and the text to this hymn was first documented in a German book in 1710. The pairing of the melody and the text we know today happened in 1851, when it was all the rage to take ancient Christian chant melodies and assign text that fit the "mood" of the chant and liturgical season. The combination of this melody and text is brilliant - the melody is melancholy and evokes a sense of longing and waiting, and the Advent text is full of imagery. Look at some of the other verses.

O come, thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and discord cease; fill the whole world with heaven's peace.

The best part of this hymn is the "refrain" at the end of every verse: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. As Christians, we are filled with hope as we anxiously await the coming of the Infant King. Let us also have hope that a brighter 2021 is on the way. And I hope that you will join us to sing this hymn this week at Drive-in Worship on this second Sunday of Advent.

 

Prayer for Today

O Emmanuel, as we wait in stillness for you, open our hearts every day to your transformative love. Fill us with hope in our despair and peace in our strife. Open to us the pathway of your peace and help us to truly be peacemakers. Amen.

Posted by: AT 03:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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