O Come, O come Immanuel and ransom captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears…
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight…
Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Each year when I hear this song my spirit is drawn into the minor key of longing for the fulfillment of promise, waiting in darkness for the long expected Messiah. The good news of Christmas is that God has brought the light of His Son, Jesus, to people trapped in darkness.
Yet even as we sing, “Joy to the World the Lord has come,” there is still an intense longing for what is yet to come. Feeling joy and excited anticipation is not the story for everyone this season, and to suggest that it should be only magnifies the isolation and depression some people are experiencing during this season.
Even as believers, sometimes the light is merely a dim flicker nearly overcome by the brokenness around us or within us, living each day in incredible physical pain or the anguish of separation from someone dear to us.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish the light of Christ. John 1:5 Sometimes instead of a bright light appearing, we are given strength from God to endure the darkness a little bit longer, to wait with the tiniest glimmer of hope knowing the light will one day come.
While we rejoice that the birth and death of Jesus is God’s provision for our salvation, our spirits still cry out, “O Come, O come Immanuel” as we await the glorious return of Immanuel.