I love the song “O Come Emmanuel,” especially the version we did in the Christmas program. It was by Chasing Furies. I heard it for the first time back in high school, in 1998. I remember thinking it was strange how upset the lady sounded, because it was about Christmas, and Christmas is happy. It never occurred tome that the person singing it in that context would have been feeling pretty desperate.
It later occurred to me that if someone were singing that song, within the context of the lyrics, that person would have been desperate for the coming of the Messiah. The song isn’t about the second coming of Jesus, which I just assumed it was when I was younger. It was about the first coming. The lyrics of the song give the sense of pleading with God to send His light, His Son, our Savior to break through the darkness and rescue Israel.
The people of Israel experienced a prophesied period of silence. God did not speak through or to men from Malachi’s last warning until John the Baptist’s declaration of Jesus’ being the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. Just silence.
Amos 8:11 says, “Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will send famine on the land –not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” And it is in the midst of this famine that this song’s meaning derives.
We get pretty down when we feel like we don’t see God moving or hear His voice for an extended period of time. Don’t we? For some, that is a week, for others it may stretch a few months, but we’ve all been at a point where we were desperate for God to reveal Himself in our lives. Could you image living through a timeframe when you had never heard God’s voice, and He never revealed Himself to you directly, because you were born after the 400 years of silence began? You would be desperate for Him to show up. It would produce a longing like nothing we’ve ever known.
But we really ought to know it. We really ought to long so deeply for God’s presence and revelation in our lives, no matter how long it’s been since the last time. We ought to long for His return and to experience Him daily until He does return. May the cries of our hearts this Christmas season and beyond echo the words of David in Psalm 63: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
O Come Emmanuel. We need you today. We need you everyday.
Consider and Discuss:
Have you ever felt ‘desperate’ for God—not for an answer to a prayer, but for Him?
Do you think God wants us to feel ‘desperate’ for Him?
Listen to the song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” again.
Watch the video:
Write a note to God, sharing your heart to know Him more, asking Him to ‘Come’ to you more deeply this season.