In Deuteronomy 6 we are encouraged to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength. We are encouraged to share the story and commands of God to our children - to talk about them when we are at home, on the road, when we go to bed, and when we are getting up. In short, we are to immerse ourselves in the story of God. The early Hebrews held festivals throughout the year, recounting and celebrating the way God had revealed himself to them as a nation. Similarly, celebrating the various festivals of the Christian year is a way to mark time and to emphasize the various aspects of the life of Christ and the story of redemption.


Advent is a season of remembrance and anticipation. During the four Sundays before Christmas, we remember the first coming of Christ - the baby, born of a virgin, who came to shine light into the darkness. We recount the Old Testament prophecies which foretold the coming of the Messiah, our rescuer and redeemer. However, we also anticipate Christ's second advent, his second coming when all things will be made new, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, when there will be no more tears and no more sorrow. Until that day, we live in the tension of the already and the not yet. We live in light of the reality that Christ has come and Christ will come again. In addition, celebrating Advent allows us time and space, a season rather than one day to remember and recall all of the promises of our Lord: past, present, and future.


From the earliest of times, God's people have expressed their faith in son. From the Old Testament psalms to the New Testament hymn fragments, we see the intersection of art and theology, lyric and prophecy, melody and creed. Some of these early hymn fragments are found in Philippians 2:6-11, Colossians 1:15-20, and I Timothy 3:16. Interestingly, in the Gospel of Luke, the birth narrative is filled with songs! Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon all burst into prophecy and praise at the coming of the newborn King. For this devotional I thought it would be fitting to us an ancient hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, to guide our journey through the season of Advent. Each week we will focus on a different stanza and unpack the associated Scripture and prophesied title for Jesus. In this way, we will answer the thematic question from Mark 8:29: "Who do you say that I am?" Hope you enjoy!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Latin Antiphons, 12 Century | Plainsong, 13th Century

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

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

O come, O come thou Lord of Might, 
who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height, 
in ancient times didst give the law 
in cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, 
free thine own from tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save, 
and give them victory o'er the grave.

O come, thou Dayspring from on high, 
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh; 
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, 
and death's dark shadows put to flight.

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


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