Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sabbath Songs: O Come, Emmanuel

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:10-11

With Christmas approaching, I have been reflecting upon the life of the Savior. I had a moment recently where I appreciated a little more the love that our Heavenly Father has for us in giving us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Mired down with particularly difficult situation, I came to understand more clearly something that I have been taught all my life. I was listening to what I call "Sunday music" on a regular old Thursday. As I was trying to figure out how to handle things, the lyrics of a song spoke clearly to me, simplifying a concept that I understood in principle, but not fully in practice. We are taught that the Savior led a perfect life. I think that the word "perfect" gets in the way of what that really means because it is such an abstract term. The lyrics helped me to see an alternative word to describe his life; sinless. And it suddenly made sense to me. Because he led a sinless life, He never had the need to feel the weight of or suffer for His own sins. Yet He willingly took the weight of our sins and paid the price for them, so that we could repent and become free from them. He knew He did not have to suffer because of sin but He chose to do it anyway, for us. For me. His Atonement became more personal because I understood just a little bit better what it means to me. And I felt hope.

Shortly after my experience, the Bishop {pastor} of our ward {congregation} echoed this sentiment in his message in the ward newsletter for this month. In reference to the scripture quoted above he said, While Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all of God's children, indeed the Savior of the world, that isn't what the angel taught. He said simply, "unto YOU" is born a Savior. He was born for you. He was born for me. God doesn't run an assembly line operation when it comes to our lives and ultimately our salvation. Each of us has unique talents and challenges, strengths and weaknesses. The miracle of Jesus Christ is He has the capacity to help and save each of us, regardless of where we live, what we do, the color of our skin, or our unique challenges. The angel's declaration is truth: He was born for you.

Neatly book-ending my experience, I was very touched by this new video from The Piano Guys, which beautifully depicts scenes from the Savior's life. From The Piano Guys: The lyrics of this piece speak of being "ransomed" from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a "ransom" — a rescue by someone or something — even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. ... To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless "ransom" of all. To Him we dedicate this song.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel


Deanna said...

Lovely. Thank you.

Jennifer Lovell said...

That was wonderful. Thanks.