Advent 2013: The Yearning for Immanuel

posted Nov 27, 2013, 7:13 AM by Unknown user

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name
(which means,
God with us).  

- Matthew 1:23, ESV

A few years ago, the autumn seemed to last forever.  I had some health concerns that turned out to be nothing, but took their toll on Meg and me.  That semester was challenging, with exceptional coursework and some difficult personal decisions.  With everything going on, I decided to serve my soul by singing again!  I found a few choral opportunities.  As is typical, by mid-November the choirs were working on Advent and Christmas music.  One of the choirs had programmed a piece called “The Yearning” by Craig Courtney.  The words of that beautiful anthem have stayed with me as a magnificent commentary on our lives and the wonder of this season.  (I have provided the lyrics on page 3).  

All of us have a yearning for the world to be a better place; a more faithful place; a more beautiful place.  We have a longing for the halls of Heaven.  We hope to live in the confidence of God’s baptismal promises to us, but so often we do not.  Our lives and the world are marred by human sin and, as we confess each week, “we are in bondage cannot free ourselves.”  

That is what is so powerful about this time of year.  In the midst of the world’s imperfections, the message of Advent and Christmas fills the voids of our hearts.  God does not leave the void empty and cavernous.  During Advent, God prepares our hearts as a home for His own Son.  At Christmas, he sends the Christ Child to dwell with us.  That is the mystery and the beauty of this time of year.  This is the hope that we have.  Even in the midst of the world’s imperfections and the deep yearnings of our heart......Even when our life situation looks grim...It was God who created us with this yearning for himself.  And he fulfills the yearning by coming to us:  Jesus is Immanuel - God with Us!  

This Advent, I invite you to come explore the yearnings of our communal heart at our Sunday morning services.  (Worship on Wednesday will have a different focus, more information on page 3).  I invite you to behold the prophet’s oracles that tell us of our future with God.  I invite you to behold the beauty and the scandal of the Christ Child born in a rough cattle stall.  Come and celebrate with us.  Come and behold with us.  Come fill the Yearning of your heart with Immanuel:  God with Us!  

Merry Christmas & Happy Immanuel!

Pastor Culynn