Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
During Advent I will share with you the Thursday meditations from one of my favorite Advent books by Beth A. Richardson, titled Child of the Light. I hope you enjoy them.
Those Who Mourn
O come, O come, Emmanuel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
This Advent hymn says God comes for everyone-the joyous and the grieving, those who celebrate and those who mourn. "Ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here." Israel, captive in a foreign land, exiles stolen away from their home. Israel-the children of God-longing to be home, longing to be free; Israel longing for the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-Us.
This message about God's coming speaks to the one who has lost a family member. God comes to the woman who feels in exile in her own marriage, for the man who grieves the loss of life dreams. God comes to the child who lives on the street, for the parents who struggle to feed and
clothe their children. God comes to the one whose loneliness or depression intensifies every Christmas. Emmanuel -God-with-Us-comes to comfort the grieving, the mourning, the sad, the lonely.
This promise awaits us and all those who mourn-and we rejoice. "Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."
But this rejoicing, this gratitude to God, does not take away our feelings. This Advent hymn does not say to a hurting person, "Get over it. You've been sad long enough. Be happy and come to the party." It says that Emmanuel - God-with-Us-is coming to us, to meet us wherever we are-happy or sad, joyous or grieving. God comes to stand with us, whatever our condition. And we thank God for that promised gift of presence.
Rejoice! Emmanuel comes to the sad and the lonely person. God stands with us, no matter what we are feeling or experiencing. Rejoice! God does not mind that we are grieving or mourning. In fact, God comes especially for the least and the lost. Thanks be to God.
Consider the places of sadness or grief during this Advent season. Pray for God's healing presence. What hurts do you carry during this time of year? What trusted friend or pastor might listen to your story? In what ways can you express your gratitude to God, even in the midst of sadness and pain?
God of Love, many are lonely and grieving during this Advent season. Send your healing Spirit to all who mourn, that they may know your comforting presence with them. Amen.
Blessings this Advent!
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