We have come to the end of our Advent journey through the great Antiphons used in these days running up to Christmas. And we end with the greatest of them all, with Emmanuel, God is with us. This is the one we pray to come: ‘O Emmanuel’.
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour; Come and save us, O Lord our God. Cf Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23)
It is Matthew’s gospel which spells this out for us. “He will be called Emmanuel, God is with us”.
Our decoration is a bauble, depicting the nativity scene – with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
This has been a difficult year for so many people and it may well still be hard. Emmanuel says that God is with us, we are not alone, we are not abandoned. God holds this, holds us, holds creation. Even a pandemic, with all its disruption, cannot break that hold.
The child in the manger, whom we celebrate at Christmas, is Emmanuel, God with us. Wherever you are, have a truly happy and blessed Christmas. May your tree remind you of the saving work of God in Jesus Christ and shine for you as a symbol of light and hope and peace.
long expected and looked for,
be present among us.
In the darkness let your light shine,
bringing hope to the despairing,
encouragement to those in danger of losing heart,
and life to all who walk through the shadow of death.
Come to our salvation
Come, Lord Jesus.
As we prepare to celebrate
the glory of your coming among us in the child of Bethlehem,
so may we be found ready to meet him
when he comes in glory. Amen.
Advent Antiphons from ‘Common Worship: Daily Prayer’ is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2005.
Prayers taken from Ian Black ‘Intercessions for the Calendar of Saints and Holy Days’ (2005, SPCK)
Text of an Advent Reflection, streamed online for Peterborough Parish Church, 23rd December 2020.