The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

On Friday in our Formation for Ministry group, one of my classmates read aloud some of the lyrics to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" as the opening prayer.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, 
who mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O Come, O King of Nations, come, O Cornerstone that binds us in one.
Refresh the hearts that long for you, restore the broken, make us new.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

Not altogether surprisingly, I began to cry. For whatever reason, this year I am unusually aware of the need for the promise of hope and light that comes with the celebration of the birth of the Christ child.

In my giant family, it is very easy to celebrate Christmas. We are very good at merriment and joy. My mom's favorite hymn of all time is "Joy to the World," and if it was her decision, it would be sung at church every Sunday. This is indicative of my mother and of how our family experiences Christmas. All four generations under one roof, food and drinks for about twice as many people as are present, gifts piled high under the tree, Christmas carols sing-alongs, and much much joy.

My favorite advent hymn has always been "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and I always just assumed that this was because it is a beautiful song. But this year, I think that it is actually because the plea for God-with-us (as that is what Emmanuel means) is so poignant. Without too much overshare, I spent this year sitting with a lot of pain -- my own, that of my friends and family, that of every person to whom I ministered in the hospital during CPE.

So this Advent, I wait for the Christ child who brings less joy and celebration, but rather peace, light amidst this darkness, and hope for the coming year.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.


Give Thanks in All Circumstances