O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people,
come set us free, Lord our God.
The gift that Christ offers us at Christmas is the gift of his presence. It is the vision of life loosened from spiritual confusion. We want to let go of the things that compromise our integrity not only personally but communally. We long for the good news preached by Jesus. It is a call to change, to transform our desires, and, in the true freedom of a new perspective, to find peace. This presence is good news for the poor, sight to the blind, liberty for captives and a time for recognizing God’s favor. It is a vision of wholeness for the human community that sustains us in hope.
O Come. O Come, Emmanuel!
What would set me/us free? How can I/we work toward this change?
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way…
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
The miracle is not to walk on water, but to walk with love on earth,
as if your feet are kissing the ground.
We must remember that our presence alone is a miracle.
We must learn to say ‘Yes’ to the miracles of life.
Thich Nhat Hanh
True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler. This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Christmas is the season of Immanuel. We celebrate the good news that He is near, that He cares for us, and that He transforms lives. His presence was the greatest present God gave mankind. May we be present carriers of that presence!
Katherine J. Walden