“O Come, O Come Emmanuel…” Such are the words of one of our most popular of Advent songs. The word “Emmanuel” comes from the Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל, which literally means “God with us.” There is something about the title and the song that bespeaks of us remaining in place and God coming to us. And that is true. Christmas is a celebration that God so loved the world he sent his only Son to be with us and become one of us in all things. In our Christmas celebrations, we will gather and honor the Christ Child in the manger, celebrating this historical event of more than 2000 years ago.
The poet Jessica Powers (1963) wrote a poem describing how she sought, but did not find, the Child upon the straw. Only the ox and the donkey were there. Feeling an inner emptiness, she went out and found the Child in the wide and warm world of everywhere, wherever a heart was beating. It was then that she returned and was able to fully experience the Christ Child in Bethlehem, knowing the depth of the gift we have been given.
May you already know the Christ in the “wide and warm world,” so that this Christmas you may more clearly recognize the Christmas Child in the manger. May you deeply and profoundly give thanks to “God with us,” Emmanuel.