(By Christina Gagnon)
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel...
Emmanuel shall come to thee...
Oh come let us adore Him.
“Come” is one of the sweetest, warmest words I know. It is an invitation glowing with acceptance and delight. It comes with the assurance of reception. “Come, you are welcome here. You are accepted here. You will be received here. Come.” This is the invitation of this beautiful time of year: “Come.”
At Advent, we join in the ancient cry of all God’s people, “Come.” All down through the ages, humanity has cried, “Oh come, Emmanuel, come to us.” The assurance was and is, “Emmanuel shall come to thee.” He is coming.
“God, who cannot lie, promised.” These past two millennia, we have had the marvelous, beautiful, un-understandable privilege of looking back with joy and realizing that He, Emmanuel, has come to us. We have relived the realization of His promise to come. We stand looking back, with joy in our heart that was never known in antiquity, as we encourage and exhort one another: “Come let us adore Him.”
Come, all you who are faithful, joyful, and triumphant. Come to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him. Come adoring Him.
We are truly privileged people who live in this age of looking back to one of the greatest events of history.
Still, we join with the ancient people of God, as we live in the hope of Emmanuel’s coming, His return.
Joy and hope are inextricably linked. Our hope gives us joy, great joy, because our hope is in God, the God who keeps promises, the God who cannot be moved. Hope is the foundation upon which we plant our feet, our life. Joy is the heart response to that foundation which cannot be moved, the assurance that cannot be shaken, the hope that does not disappoint.
Advent is a Latin word that means “coming” which is why it was so appropriate to use it for this time of year. The word and the season hold the double meaning for us of looking back to His coming and also looking forward to His coming. But Advent is more than just a time of remembrance of joy and hope. Like the ancient people of God, we are invited, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight.” Advent is the call to prepare the way of the Lord because He is coming. It is the reminder that God has come and that God is coming. It is the season of preparing our hearts to receive Emmanuel. Let each of us ask ourselves this question: Is there room in my heart for Him?