Come Emmanuel, lead us from despair to hope
The smile and cooing of a new born baby rapidly melt hearts. It is an incomparable joy as we await the anniversary of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Advent means “coming,” and during this season, Christians prepare for Jesus’ coming.
Indeed the message of Advent is an invitation and also a challenge. We are called to be looking forward, to be ready, to be prepared and we are asked to wait in joyful hope.
The Advent wreath and candles are full of symbolism tied to the Christmas season. The wreath itself, which is made of various evergreens, signifies continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and one candle is lit each Sunday. Three of the candles are purple because the color violet is a liturgical color that signifies a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice.
The first candle, which is purple, symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” remind us that Advent is a journey from whatever despair has seized the human spirit to an active hope in the Second Coming of Christ. The human family experiences unbearable suffering this year due to Covid-19 and the alarmingly negative impact of lockdown.
Yet the truth is this: No matter how intently we work to isolate ourselves from human misery, we cannot escape. We mourn in lonely exile here — hoping, waiting for something or someone to divert us from the many roads leading to our destruction. As we overcome the grief of our departed loved ones, or those suffering at the hands of tormentors, we cling to this hope rigorously through prayers. Advent is a time to remember just how much the whole world needs Christ. God has a better plan for our lives — as evidenced by the fact that Christ has come once and Christ will come again.
Come Emmanuel; come Son of God; come! take us by the hand and lead us on this journey from despair to hope.