Now that Thanksgiving is past, Christmas music has once again been unleashed. Retail stores tune their Muzak to the holiday channel. Every recording artist with a nugget of spare time has thrown together a mediocre Christmas album. Rudolph hunts you down in the produce section, and Frosty stalks you while you fill your gas tank. As I walk the streets around my office, speakers hidden somewhere among the rooftops warble carols into the frosty air. It's the surround sound of the season, but I'm afraid I'm just not in the mood yet for jingle bells and sleigh rides, or even Joy to the World.
While I was working at B&N this week, I found myself humming amidst the shelves, attempting to drown out the insipid holiday music mandated by Corporate with my own playlist of rather mournful carols. I've been in a bit of a funk lately, disgusted with myself for obstinately standing in my own way on the long road to real and lasting change, and somehow I feel like that's the soundtrack I need to start with if I'm ever going to step forward into the joy of the season; that perhaps if I associate my weary expectancy with that of a world that had yet to receive the Messiah, a world weary of its own humanity and desperate for a Savior, I might then understand anew what a wonder it is that He has come to be Emmanuel, God with us. The fourth stanza is my prayer today.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
[Refrain] Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
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.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse's tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.