We continue our series reflecting on the O Antiphons, the prayers for the seven days before Christmas.
O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, hope of the nations and our savior: come and save us, O Lord our God.
Come, Lord Jesus.
“The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Emmanuel means “God with us”–God not far away, not enthroned on high, not distant and uncaring, but here, in our midst, sharing our flesh, our life, our pain, our hopes, our dreams, our hungers, our fears, our tears, our laughter, our achey joints from so much walking, our sights and sounds and smells, our tastes and loves and losses. This is the scandal of the Christian faith–that God would lower Godself to take on mortal flesh, to be in a particular time and place with a particular people, to know bodily life and suffering and death. This is the Big Idea of Christianity, the thing that makes us different from other faith traditions–that we claim that God came In The Flesh, that God was incarnate in one man so that the divide between divine and human might be bridged once and for all. This incarnate word, God made flesh, come to dwell among us, brings us the good news that we too can be fully human, that the flesh is not evil, that God can be known right here, right now, just as we live and breathe and eat and drink and suffer and rejoice. This life matters so much that God came and lived it with us. Life before death–what God is all about in the Christian story.
How have you seen and known God with YOU this Advent season? Where do you hope to see God in the flesh in the coming season?