O Come, O Come Emmanuel –
This past week over in the Holy Land we had the opportunity to sing this hauntingly beautiful song at St. Anne’s Chapel over in Jerusalem. St. Anne’s dates from the 4th century, and is a magnificent structure with amazing acoustics. It sits just outside the of the walls of Jerusalem next to the pools of Bethesda (where Jesus had healed a man who had been lame for 38 years (see John 5:1-4).
It is troublesome to think that the people who were immediately around Jesus did not recognize Him or give Him the honor that He deserved. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the teachers of the Law all had the opportunity to be with Jesus on a daily basis, but most of them rejected Him. But “Emmanuel” means “God with us”! God had promised to come and to be with His people!
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes and religious leaders, we ourselves say that we believe this – but when we are faced with God directly, do we welcome Him or reject Him? When Jesus calls us to “Forgive our enemies”, do we find some excuse that He didn’t mean THAT person? When Jesus calls us to “Honor our father and mother”, do we think “You don’t know MY mother!”?
If we really want for Jesus to come into our lives, we have to be willing to forgive, love, accept, and welcome those who have hurt us. We don’t have to put ourselves in the position for them to hurt us again, but we do need to try to see them through Jesus’ eyes. “For God so loved THE WORLD” – not just me!
If you can go access our church web page, we will be putting our Pilgrim Tour group video up of us singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” at St. Anne’s. We pray that it is not only a blessing to your soul, but that Jesus’ compassion and acceptance will also haunt you as we walk together through this season of Advent.
- Rev. Bill