Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and Ransom Captive Israel

It is Christmas Eve. 50 degrees outside feels like a heat wave after a few days of waking up to 8 degrees. I have been inside all day piddling around, helping girls make candy and brownies. We stayed up rather late last night, thanks to our dear friends, Laura and Josh. They took out all the children for pizza and driving around to see lights. We celebrated our anniversary here at home. A wonderful 4 course candlelit meal, christmas tree and music. Very romantic. We decided that we enjoyed celebrating our anniversary here in our own home just as much or more than going out. It was a real gift from Laura and Josh who blessed all of us with that evening out with the kids.

All that said, being inside all day put me in a bit of a funk. Thinking of the troubles of the world makes me sad. I need to wrap Christmas gifts, but the wildness of the wind blew open the door and invited me to go be blown around for a few minutes. Patrick, Maggie and Rose were out practicing archery on the front lawn. They happily set their weapons down when I suggested a run to the top of the hill. They took my words literally as they ran charging up behind the barn. I walked quickly, telling them that I am too old to run up a hill. The goats and sheep looked at us. The ducks quacked at us. The coal gray clouds were pushed through the sky by an impatient breeze. From the top of the hill we surveyed our "estate." The air smelled fresh. Our sweaters felt warm. The black woods looked like they were sprinkled with cinnamon. McAfee's Knob glowered blackly over it all and didn't really do much to lift me out of my funk. So many people we know are hurting right now. All is not well in their life. Broken hearts, broken bodies, broken spirits. Not to mention all the people I do not know who are hurting in the world due to injustice, poverty, wickedness, intolerance.

Historically, advent was a season of repentance. All the colors, lights and screaming advertisements try to drown out that still small voice asking me to stop, be still and remember. Hurry! Hurry! I think that a good funk is a good reminder that there are legitimate reasons for grieving the sorrow of others. For asking Emmanuel to be present in those difficult circumstances.

In a minute I will finish up the cinnamon roll dough and have nice pans of deliciousness ready for our Christmas morning and the Christmas morning of some other friends of ours. We will roast the duck and turnips. We will light the candles and read the scriptures foretelling the coming of Christ. I will stay up too late wrapping presents, drinking wine with Philip. We will laugh and enjoy our moments with family. But I hope to pause with everyone for a few minutes and sing some advent songs and pray for our deliverer to be Deliverer for the hurting people in our world.

Comfort, comfort ye my people, speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness mourning 'neath their sorrows' load.
Speak to Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover, and her warfare now is over.

Hark the voice of one the crieth in the desert far and near,
calling us to repentance since the kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way;
let the valleys rise to meet him and the hills bow down to greet him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain;
let your hearts be true and humble, as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord now o'er earth is shed abroad;
and all flesh shall see the token that the word is never broken.

Words: Johann G. Olearius (1611-1684)
Music: Psalm 42, Claude Goudimel (1514-1572)


CountryDew said...

Merry Christmas from my house to yours. Very thoughtful and loving post.

One Day At A Time said...

However, we were so sorry for the absence of ANY light (Christmas or otherwise) at Camp Bethel! ;) I'm so thankful for your family and for the things you remind me to consider. Can't wait to see you again!