“Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.” So says the psalmist today and all indications are that that psalmist is absolutely right! Even the last-minute shoppers are starting to panic, there’s only one door left on the Advent calendar, and our Advent wreath is fully ablaze with all four candles lit. But more than that, the psalmist is right about our redemption. God has chosen to be near us, he has chosen to become flesh and dwell among us, he is Emmanuel, God with us.
That’s our “O Antiphon” for today – “O Emmanuel” – and we sing it in the very first verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Israel may mourn in lowly exile, indeed we might all be mourning the incompleteness of our lives, or the pain we experience, or the sadness that this world can bring us. But none of that is able to overcome the joy of our God, our Emmanuel, being one with us and leading us through the Cross to the Resurrection and eternal life. The Son of God has indeed appeared and will appear again.
And so we rejoice at the nearness of our God, we rejoice that grace and peace have come to us, we rejoice that we are not what are sins may appear to make us, we rejoice that there is eternal life, that there is grace, and peace for all men and women of the earth.
In these last hours before Christmas, we need to all take a few minutes to stop all the preparations, to put aside the cookie-making and gift wrapping and all of the other preparations just for a while. We need to make that quiet space within us so that Christ can be born in us again, so that we can be filled up with the love he wants us to share, so that the peace on earth we desire can be born within our hearts.
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come to save us, O Lord our God.