O Emmanuel (God with Us)

The Great O Antiphon for December 23 is “O Emmanuel”. The antiphon reads, “O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.”

The antiphon is the culmination of the Old Testament prophecies and names for the coming Savior. The name, “Emmanuel”, means, “God with Us”. We are now ready to receive the news of the coming One who is the fulfillment of all the desires expressed in each of the previous antiphons.

This sonnet was written during a particularly difficult time in which I was feeling alone in my circumstances and thin with respect to the resources I had available. Am I alone? Is there hope and help to be had? What sort of king would be of help to me, would care for me? And what of the tension between what I know are the right answers and my actual experience of believing? Lastly, how do I imagine that hope coming and that hope being fulfilled? The answer always surprises.

You may listen to me read the antiphon via the player below.

Far, so far away is any king from me;
Beyond so many bolstered gates and doors;
His ear is taken with so many other pleas—
Matters greater than my petty economy and wars.
One’s hope I’m told, is not one if it’s seen;
So say the preachers whom I’ve often heard;
I try to listen, understand what they all must mean,
But worry and care hide the hope, choke the Sower’s word.
If only help could come to us, bearing our salvation,
One who holds, can keep, one safe to lean upon—
Strong and broad enough to fill the hope of every nation
And enfold us all in arms of love till all our fear is gone.
Swaddled by his mother, Hope is delivered in a stable,
God is with us. God is loving. God is willing. God is able.

© Randy Edwards 2016

This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

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