O Come, O Come Emmanuel | Lament

O come, o come, Emmanuel, 

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here 

Until the Son of God appear. 

I am lost; my exile is a homeless home. The brightness of your promise fades, early sundown on a cold, dark winter afternoon. God-with-us, where are you?

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,

Who ordered all things mightily;

To us the path of knowledge show,

and teach us in her ways to go. 

I am lost and this kind of lostness is compassless chaos, borderless prison. Promises of a way out of this wilderness feel as though they’re dollarstore greeting cards addressed to someone else.

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might, 

Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height 

In ancient times gave holy law, 

In cloud and majesty and awe.

Words carved onto rock hewn from mountain, and a directive from the Author of those words: “Lift your eyes to the hills.”

Blinddeafnumb I am.

Oh God-with-us, where are you?

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem, 

From ev’ry foe deliver them 

That trust your mighty pow’r to save; 

Bring them in vict’ry through the grave. 

This one thing I know with lead-weight certainty: I can not rescue myself.

Oh, come, O Key of David, come, 

And open wide our heav’nly home; 

Make safe the way that leads on high, 

And close the path to misery. 

David’s Son, clutching prison key in nail-pierced palm. Door grinds open. Unsure. No map. No compass. I step into the familiar indigo darkness and find myself there alone. I know well how to be lost.

God-with-us, where are you now? Where are you?

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high, 

And cheer us by your drawing nigh, 

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, 

And death’s dark shadows put to flight. 

An eyelash sliver of moon, three stars against ink sky, and my eyes have enough light to see.

There you are. You are there.

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind 

In one the hearts of all mankind; 

Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, 

And be yourself our King of Peace. 


Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 

Shall come to you, O Israel!


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  • beautiful …

    • Michelle Van Loon

      Thanks, Jane.

  • Tim

    “I know well how to be lost.”

    Michelle, your words today and the lyric of that hymn (one I treasure) made my breath catch in my throat and sit there like a lump. How can mere breath do that? Then I think of how when it comes to the Holy Spirit there is no such thing as mere breath.

    Immanuel and maranatha, Michelle.


    • Michelle Van Loon

      Thank you so much, Tim.