o come, o come

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is my favorite Christmas song of all time.

Maybe it’s the sweet and plaintive melody. Maybe it’s the chord progressions which I don’t know all that much about musically, but which I can totally appreciate as a non-musician.

Maybe it’s Emmanuel.

God with us.

God is with us!

Even when this song calls for rejoicing, it’s subdued, and I think that’s how my life is. I think that is why I relate so much. I have been called forth from captivity, but that doesn’t erase the time spent captive. A trial is at an end and all things are made new, but it doesn’t erase where I’ve been and what I’ve endured.

O come, o come, Emmanuel.

Come to the exile, to the lost, to the lonely. Come and be God among us.

Today, I listened to a message about God incarnate and it… it was more than I could properly take in. Part of that was a surge of anxiety at a really inopportune moment. Part of it was my own preoccupation with my after-church plans. I want so badly to be a good and generous host and for my home to be a place of comfort and replenishment. Not a bad thing, but perhaps the wrong thing to be focused on when I was.

Despite my split focus, God incarnate is powerful. O come, o come, Emmanuel. Be that in me. Let me be Christ in my world to those around me.

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
And You crash over me, I’m where You want me to be
I’m going under, I’m in over my head

Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
Whether I sink , whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
I’m beautifully in over my head
I’m beautifully in over my head

In spite of my own distractions and my own preoccupations, in spite of my own ability to sink or swim (I’m a sinker), in spite of everything, this song still echoes in my heart and mind. Emmanuel. God with us.

It is humbling and a comfort. So much of both. What am I that God is mindful of me? My human struggles that God should care? (Psalm 8, paraphrased like whoa)

David said that 1, and David had far more right to do so than I do. I don’t have any idea what Jesus was subjected to in his time on earth, but today? Today, I doubted and felt chastened in my own heart for doubting. I have no idea whether the Christ dealt with mental illness. I somehow doubt he did. But there must be something there that can give me that common ground. Right?

Casey/At says I need to ask whether Christ is living within me enough to tie him to my experience. I don’t know. I feel adrift here, because even at his most terrified of what was to come, I feel like it wasn’t unknown to Jesus. Where my biggest source of terror is that I don’t know. Anything. What was. What is. What is to come.

I suppose that’s where faith comes in. In so many ways. I have to believe that he knows not only where I am but that he will also be Emmanuel. God with me. Through whatever valley of the shadow of death I am walking through. Emmanuel.

God with us. God with me. Please.

  1. I think. Whatever. I don’t know who wrote every Psalm, so it’s a good guess, okay?

5 thoughts on “o come, o come

  1. You write about your deeper feelings with such eloquence I find so much in what you wrote to relate to. I have had my share of doubts through many years, but I never doubted that God indeed is with us whether we are keen enough to perceive what it is He is expecting us to do. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m glad it was something that seemed to resonate with some people. It’s such a risk to be vulnerable, but when it connects? Oh, there’s the reward.

  2. Beautiful! Such a poignant perspective. I’ve been reflecting on this similar song today:

    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
    Hail the incarnate Deity!
    Pleased as Man with men to dwell
    Jesus, our Emmanuel!

    God in flesh. God in skin. God in scratchy clothes. God’s dirty feet in sandals. One of us. With us. So that He could then reside in us.

    Just… Wow.

    1. Wow, indeed, and I love the track your mind has been reflecting on!

      I really am hating more and more the sanitized version of Jesus that I grew up with. The version where he was a man, but you know, also God, and so because of that Godhood, he didn’t deal with all the stuff we deal with. Like scratchy clothes and dirty feet and dry skin. Like he never had the common cold and never felt pain until he was scourged. Maybe I don’t feel like Jesus and I can entirely relate to each other, but I can relate so much better to a 30-something-year-old who maybe woke up and had a crick in his neck all day than I can to… you know… God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *