And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
To thee shall come Emmanuel!
Each Advent we begin with this hymn, which is a reminder that we, too, are waiting in lonely exile. Refugees flee from their homes all over the world wondering if they will ever return. Addiction, resentment and simple geography can keep us from our loved ones. We know what it is to be lonely. We mourn for lost times and persons. If we allow ourselves we know ourselves to be the Israel that is waiting and longing for Emmanuel.
Yet even now-we are rejoicing. We rejoice not because Emmanuel is here, but because Emmanuel shall come. We begin our celebration before the fact, because we are an Alleluia people. In the midst of loneliness, despair and the darkest point of Winter, we can see, and hear, and smell the coming of Christ.
The crisp air is bristling with the beauty of Emmanuel.
Breathe it in.