Monday, December 3, 2012
Advent is unlike any other season on the Christian calendar. Listening to the music alone tells us that something is different here. It has a style that is wistful, hopeful, and somehow longing. It is music which anticipates and always seems to leave something hanging in the air when it is completed. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is an example as it begins with the words, "O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears..." The melody matches the words making it far different from the regular Sabbath musical fare.
One of the Old Testament passages read during these early days of Advent comes from the 65th chapter of Isaiah. The prophet is speaking to those in exile. The Hebrews are in a strange land. They are watching their children grow up immersed in a pagan culture, one hostile to the values that were once taught when life was lived in and around Jerusalem. In the 10th verse of that chapter comes the voice of God speaking, "I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress." Those in that lonely place of exile hear this word which tells them a new day and new order is about to be brought into being.
How we long for such a Word. So many today live in places where there is little about which to rejoice. For many life is filled with so much of the same routines of life that it seems there will never be a better day. Yet, the Word of God in these days not only calls us to long and hope for this new day to come, but it invites us to believe that it will come simply because it is in the heart of God to restore His people to wholeness.