O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14) :
“O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Savior. O come and save us, Lord, our God.”
From Marthe Curry
Picture two old souls who hunger deeply for the coming Messiah. Shattered memories of a kingdom destroyed by disobedience, decades of exile under heartless oppressors, and humiliation at the hand of Roman conquerors cannot diminish eyes whose faith sees and waits for Messiah.
Simeon and Anna are no strangers to the temple. Temple is home to Anna, and she and Simeon must often have watched and spoken of the Promise. Engraved on their hearts are the words of Isaiah, of God’s coming to be with them — Emmanuel. Despite years of disappointment, of widowhood for Anna, of grave injustices at the hands of their conquerors, and hypocrisy characterizing the religious leaders of the day, Simeon and Anna continue to linger.
They linger, for they believe. And one day, “moved by the Spirit, [Simeon goes] into the temple courts.” And there “at that very moment” faithful Anna and Simeon see the Child, the one who will be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel”—Emmanuel, the Christ Child, God with us.
May this deep longing for the presence of the living God with and in us fill our hearts as we, like Simeon and Anna, stand in anticipation, trusting, and waiting expectantly for the revelation of Emmanuel, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people who will come, as promised, and set us free.
Marthe Curry is the director of the Department of World Mission for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by the Rev. Doug Earle. See more of Doug’s work at Www.DougEarlePhotography.com.
The well-known Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel recalls the prophet Isaiah’s several descriptions of the coming Messiah. During the seventh and eighth centuries, these descriptions were compiled into antiphons and were recited before and after the Magnificat during Vespers or Evening Prayer for the seven evenings preceding Christmas.
We present these O Antiphons from December 17 to December 23 along with meditations from writers across the diocese and the photography of the Rev. Doug Earle.