This ancient hymn has, for some time, been my favorite song. The haunting melody bears the familiar pain of the exile, and yet this song about deep desire and current pain is filled with hope. Not just any hope, but hope of deliverance. It is the hope for the return of God.
Emmanuel had been here before. Adam and Eve walked with Him in the cool of the day. But those days are long forgotten. The years of rebellion had pushed them so far away that all they had left was an ache to be remembered. O come, O come Emmanuel! Can you identify with this song? Christ came and brought about our redemption. He walked with us in the cool of the day. But years of rebellion have pushed our world to the edge of evil. Listen to the echoes of wars and conflict. Those wars happen between countries, but they also happen between family members, they happen between friends. A thousand shattered relationships make us cry out, “O come! O come, Emmanuel!”
We are exiled, caught between the already and the not-yet. We already have our redemption from our sins, but with creation we groan for the redemption that is to come. We already have seen Christ come in victory on the cross, but we long for His victory in the skies. We already have seen God implement His Kingdom on earth in Christ through the Church, but we long for His rule and reign to be seen and acknowledged by all. O come, o come, Emmanuel.
Homework this week comes in three parts. Pray for the Peace of Israel. Pray for the return of Christ! And “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”