O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
“Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) “We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people” (1 Tim 4:10)
Since reading the late Jim Cotter’s wonderful Advent book ‘Expectant’ (Cairns Publications, 2002), full of creative new and reworked ‘O’ Antiphons, I have been hooked to this form of liturgical response and long for Advent each year! It has become my go-to Advent daily reading.
With beginnings like ‘O come… thou wounded stag’, ‘thou silent song’ and ‘thou salmon, swift’, his refreshing relationship to creation and life on this earth, has so clearly connected me to the reality we see expressed in today’s antiphon: Emmanuel – God with us. I have found myself realising that I have always limited the ‘us’ to humanity. Jim’s amazing words broadened my mind, so that ‘us’ now includes the whole of creation, including ‘thou swallow small’.
I feel like I’m ignoring the king and lawmaker bit, which you may have connected to, but, thanks to Jim, I can’t hear ‘O come, O come…’ without knowing deep in my heart that God comes to ‘us’: to all creation.
I wonder if this insight touches you as it did me?
Does it speak to us in a new way as we face a Climate Emergency?
O Emmanuel, God with ‘us’ – come and save us.
(And Happy Christmas for tomorrow!)
Advent God, We give thanks for your constant presence and for the renewal, each year, of the assurance of your Son, Emmanuel. Open our minds to the breadth of this promise, that you are God with us; God in and through all, God renewing and recreating all. So be it. Amen
The Rev’d Martin Knight is minister of St Paul’s URC, South Croydon and South Croydon United Church (Methodist/URC).