O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
This soulful Christmas hymn has worked itself into my brain, mostly through practicing it with my kids for our church’s Christmas program. The stretched out words (E-ma-a-an-u-el, I-i-is-ra-el), the plaintive longing for salvation, and the desperate, lonely state of the speaker puts me where I often end up during the Christmas season – living life in a minor key. But then the refrain reminds me that there really is reason to rejoice. I am not stuck in the here and now. Emmanuel (God with us) shall come again. We must always find joy in the future coming of our Lord. We will never be lonely or disheartened again.