The reflection I published yesterday inspired me to investigate the ancient Advent carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” I found several versions that got me in the “Advent Spirit.” It doesn’t take much these days. Advent is about being in darkness and hoping for light. It is a season that the ancient Christians merged with the pagan traditions of anticipating the winter solstice to bring deeper meaning, and ultimately truth, to new converts of a rapidly spreading faith. Centuries later, I sit by the glow of an artificial gas “fireplace” on a cold, rainy night, painfully aware that the people still walk in darkness.
I was never a big fan of this song. It sounded so depressing, and Christmas to a child growing up in a loving family is anything but. It seemed out of place. As an adult who has experienced just enough pain to allow me to feel compassion for those who don’t get into Christmas the way I do, the song has become more appropriate. Especially the Latin version, like this one by Hayley Westenra:
Sojourn Music has produced a very modern version of the song, definitely worth the listen:
This version by Selah is incredible, not only because the arrangement is so hauntingly Jewish, but because the accompanying video with scenes from the film The Nativity are so beautifully edited.
Today my pre-Christmas season is less about waiting for Santa (although I can’t wait to see the faces of my kids on Christmas morning) and more about remembering that seasons of darkness are part of life, and that this too shall pass.