And it came to pass that at the Presbytery meeting last night, we worshipped and we sang. (It was an Advent Lessons and Carol type service.)
And the One for whom I am waiting met me in the old, familiar Advent carol - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
In my captivity to this dark night, this exile and banishment I have been feeling, in my hope wearing as thin as a piece of paper, the Great Silence came to me in this song of the season, with hope and reassurance of the coming of Emmanuel - God-with-us, God-with-me. It is the rejoicing part that is so very hard and difficult when the way seems endlessly dreary and bleak and there is no sign of movement toward release and the new thing God is doing and bringing.
I could barely choke out the words for the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes, and had to stop singing. It is precisely for those such I,exiled, mourning, lonely, captive, banished, fearful, anxious, despairing that God came and is coming to release, bring home, set free, embrace, make a Holy Way through and out, and to cause the desert to burst into bloom and hot dry sand to become a pond of cool fresh water. I cling to God's promise, as tenuous as it may seem, as improbable and impossible as it may be. That is the hope of this season of Advent. That is the hope of this season of my dark night.
O Come, o come Emmanuel...