Friday, December 16, 2011

O Come. O Come Emmanuel

It is the third week of Advent. Anticipation hangs in the air, glittering with the shimmer of a thousand candles glowing in the night.

The Christchild is coming.

I wait in expectation of the holy of holy nights when hope shall spring forth in a world of peace, joy and Love.

In the Advent meditation I am participating in we are invited this week to meditate on the words of the Christmas carol, O Come! O Come! Emmanuel.  It is one of my favourites. One of those songs that plays itself in my head, even when I'm not thinking about it.

In the beginning notes of the week, Beth Richardson, who is guiding the course at Spirituality & Practice writes:

Words: 9th-century Latin
Music: 15th-century French

The words to this Advent hymn were translated from ninth-century Latin prayers of the Catholic Church. They were known as the "Great Antiphons" or "O Antiphons" (referring to the use of "O come" at the beginning of each antiphon). It is thought that a different antiphon was sung in the monastery on succeeding nights leading up to Christmas. Each antiphon bears a different name for the Messiah.

According to scholar Mother Thomas More, the tune, "Veni Emmanuel," was used as a processional for a community of fifteenth-century French Franciscan nuns living in Lisbon, Portugal. When I hear this hymn, I think of monks or nuns in candlelit cathedrals singing hope in the darkness of the nights before Christmas.

In the meditation course, the invitation is to deepen our understanding of this season through focusing on songs of Advent that speak to the universal truths of our humanity -- we are born in the reflection of God. We embody God's greatness. We are magnificent. We are holy. We are divine.

This is not 'God' as limited by our language, but rather a concept of God that is unlimited through a broadening of our vocabulary -- The Divine. Creator. Yaweh. Almighty Father. King of Kings. Spirit, Lord.

I like the concept of broadening my 'God vocabulary'. Of moving beyond the secular of my language to the Divine presence embodied in the collective will of man, a spirit that embraces me in wonder as I stand in Love.

I am enjoying my Advent meditations. Finding myself focusing on the spiritual elements of the season, and of my being. I am slowing down, moving inward unhooking the external drive to buy more, spend more, give more this season as I connect to the holy within and all around me.

I am breathing into my divine essence, coming home to the One. Hearing the Divine calling of my name as I embrace the beauty and the wonder of my human condition -- I am the Divine expression of God's amazing grace.

In this morning's meditation we were invited to consider the question: "What does God call me?"

Child. Friend. Believer?

"What does God call me?"

Perhaps the answer is... Home.


I went in search of a recording to share and found this beautiful video and recording performed and arranged by Mike Massé and Wendy Jernigan in December, 2001. Scott Slusher provided additional percussion arranging. Video assembled/edited by Mike Massé on 12/05/09.

I invite you to give yourself an Advent breather -- the video is filled with beautiful paintings depicting images of the Christchild's birth.


S. Etole said...

Such amazing detail in those paintings.

kaykuala said...

Great take on the story, Louise! It takes a lot of knowledge to pen one. And the painting is beautiful!