O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Why, Lord? How long, Lord?
I say it with David and countless other people through the ages.
Why, Lord? How long?
Why did this good man die of cancer? Why these beautiful, godly women with empty arms longing for husbands and children? Why these babies dying across the sea and my little brothers and sisters getting their heads cut off in Iraq because they won't recant their faith in Jesus?
O come, o come, Emmanuel. God be with us.
Across the hospital beds and across the centuries and across the graves of our loved ones in the hard, frozen earth, we all say and hear the same cry.
Why, Lord? How long, Lord? Come and save us!
And the world is tilting crazier by the minute. White kill black, and black kill white, and our neighbourhoods go up in flames, and where is the Prince of Peace now?
Come, o come, Emmanuel. God be with us.
And out of the endless black of 400 years of silence, of waiting and wondering and asking why and how long, God answered the cry of His people and sent hope in the form of a baby who would rescue His people and defeat death, once and for all.
Isn't this why we really celebrate Christmas? Why we have utter and inexpressible joy this season, despite hurt and loneliness and brokenness? Not because we love presents and Christmas trees and spiced cider and candles. Not because we love getting together with family and eating more food than we should.
Because our cries have been heard and answered.
"A people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." - Isaiah 9:2
And, yes, babies still die, and marriages die, and hopes and dreams and futures die, because it's still a broken and sinful world. You may feel like me, that deep darkness is pressing in on you, like you're still there in those 400 years of crying out in the silent waiting.
But the Messiah did come, just as He promised, and saved us from our sins. And He will come again and heal all our sickness and brokenness, and every color and nation will praise Him together, and He will live among His people forever.
Among us. With us. Emmanuel.
And He left His Spirit with us, that literal flame of hope in the dark, waiting for the Messiah to come again. His presence with us.
O come, o come, Emmanuel. God with us. And He is.
On the long days and years of waiting - Emmanuel.
Into the most war-torn regions of the world - Emmanuel.
At gravesides and in hospital rooms and on those days when your 12-year-old daughter's beautiful blond hair falls out from cancer treatments - Emmanuel.
God is with us.
Don't you think that's something the world needs to hear?
"And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6