I can relate to the opening scene from Charlie Brown Christmas. (If you want to remind yourself of the opening, click on the link below.) Today, I don’t feel much in the mood for Christmas. The past few days have been a bit melancholy and yesterday tipped the scales as I read a friend’s first CaringBridge post. At work, at church and in the community…are people for whom this will be their first Christmas without their loved one. Some of the grief is fresh, for others it’s almost a year into the process. Regardless, this year will be the first. Their wounds may not be visible, but their pain is real. Having experienced a brother’s death just before Christmas, I can’t overlook these moments in life.
But hope, the hope Christmas proclaims, was meant for times like this. Yes, even for Charlie Brown who can’t quite figure it out. Today this hope came alive for me in a reading from Isaiah, a preacher speaking hope out of a raw sense of loss and in singing a familiar Christmas carol rewritten. Let the words of this song, adapted from the words of Isaiah, speak to you this day.
O come, O come Immanuel/And bless each place your people dwell/Melt every weapon crafted for war/Bring peace upon the earth forever more.
O come, green shoot of Jesse, free/Your people from despair and apathy/Forge justice for the poor and the meek/Grant safety for the young ones and the weak.
O come now, living water, pour your grace/And bring new life to every withered place/Speak comfort to each trembling heart/Be strong, fear not, for I will ne’er depart.
O come, dear child of Mary come/God’s Word made flesh within our earthly home/Lord story within the womb of night/Revenge and hatred put to flight.
Refrain: Rejoice, Rejoice! Take heart and do not fear. God’s chosen one, Immanuel draws near.