1st Week of Advent: O Come, Emmanuel!

When I was a child, I always loved Advent.  There was a melancholia, a longing...but mixed at the same time with anticipation and hope. How did I get all that as a child?  I'm sure I didn't, except to say that maybe all the sights and sounds and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories of the "liturgical celebration" weren't entirely lost on me, nor on many of you.  The reality of our God-Man Jesus has grown in me over the years as I've walked and talked with my Savior.

But whether you have had that sort of background as a child or not, why not journey with us these next weeks.  Take it all in as if for the first time...all the sights, sounds, and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories.

Below are Scripture readings for every day this week.  Let the Word of God wash over you day by day.  I've linked the passages to biblegateway.com so you can change the version as you wish.

But first, enjoy this Christmas Carol to start off your Advent devotions.  It's one of my childhood favorites:  O Come, O Come  Emmanuel.

I love the intense longing expressed in this song...a longing for the presence of God Himself into our frail humanity...a presence that is our Present Reality in Christ.

Who would have ever imagined it?  God in the flesh!  C.S. Lewis was right when he called the Incarnation (God made Man, God with Us), The Grand Miracle.

Sing it with us, and let the emotion and wonder of it all bathe over you!

O Come O Come Emmanuel Selah

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.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny From depths of Hell Thy people save And give them victory o'er the grave Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heavenly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height, In ancient times did'st give the Law, In cloud, and majesty and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q6iesplJRM[/youtube]

For an interesting story behind the song, click here.

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Readings for the First Week of Advent:

Sunday  --  Luke 4:16-21

Monday  --  John 1:1-18

Tuesday  --  Hebrews 1:1-14

Wednesday  --  Philippians 2:1-11

Thursday  --  Luke 2:41-52

Friday  --  Matthew 3:1-17

Saturday  --  Matthew 4:12-25

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The Reading Plan I'm using this year is found in The Voice, a new translation of the New Testament published by Thomas Nelson. For a free download and short video clips, follow this link:

http://www.nelsonfree.com/voicent

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Advent artwork courtesy of my cousin-in-law Marilyn Parente.  Of these beautiful creations, Marilyn says, "I created them using images of panels of glass I shot in Disney with a bit of clipart and some Photoshop thrown in for good measure." Thank you so much for sharing, dear sister in the Lord!

December 2012, Today in the Word