Tuesday, December 2, 2008

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion,
and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,
saith THE LORD.
Isaiah 59:20

It's Day 2 of my commitment to seek out a meaningful Christmas. Today I have, again, chosen a Christmas hymn as my devotion. The hymn is "O come, O come, Emmanuel." The original hymn was written in 8th century Latin, author unknown, and was transferred to English by John Mason Neale in Medieval Hymns and Sequences, 1851.

Here's some of my favorite lines from this beautiful hymn ...

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.

I remember back in 1972, during the Vietnam War
I wore a P.O. W. bracelet bearing an actual American soldier's name, a real man who was held by the enemy. I have heard emotional accounts of both Vietnam veterans and WWII veterans who were held as prisoners of war. To be imprisoned, to be bound, with all freedoms removed must be a horrible sentence.
I may have never experienced that life ... a life of being exiled, imprisoned, held in captivity in the same sense that a P. O. W. has. But, I admit I have experienced spiritual imprisonment. Anger, bitterness, blame, resentment, shame, fear, or hostility toward others and myself.
The Word says "... escape the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 2:20). Although I was freed from the power of sin by the blood of Christ when I accepted Him as my Savior, I can still become a captive to sin again, entrapped by the enemy, Satan. (see Acts 8:22,23)

Today my heart cries out. Emmanuel, God with me ... O Come, O come, Emmanuel. Liberate me me from my sin. I am alone and separated. Until you make your presence known. I rejoice knowing You will come to me.
"Sin and the child of God are incompatible.
They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony.." -John R. W. Stott

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