20 December 2009

Fourth Sunday of Advent

As my brain crept toward consciousness this morning I heard a distant, almost mournful refrain. As it grew strength and volume I realized it wasn't mournful, but full of longing and anticipation.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

I lay in my cozy comforter grasping for the rest of the words, eyes squeezed shut, not wanting to break the barrier that contains the warmth of my Minnesota bed.

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile, here until the Son of God appear.

That's the first verse. We've been singing it and others each Sunday in church. But how do the other verses go? I had to know. I threw the covers back before my alarm went off, trotted downstairs, and lit the Advent wreath in the still dark kitchen. I found my Hymnal 1982 and turned to Hymn #56. I love this plainsong hymn. It is so simple yet has so much depth.

The verse suggested for today's date is verse 5.

O come though key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home; make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

I can pray for that, especially on this snowy, brief day that marks winter in earnest.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, 
O Israel!

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