One characteristic of the Christmas season that I really enjoy is the music, and one of the classics is O Come O Come Emmanuel. Whenever I sing the chorus of this song, it has the sound of a long-awaited hope that is realized and claimed: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
As I think of this song, I think of three other sections of Scripture that contains the word “come.”
- Isaiah 1:18: Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
- Matthew 11:28-30: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
- Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Isaiah’s use of the word speaks of repentance of sin and regeneration (salvation); Jesus uses it in the sense of a relationship; and, in the Revelation it speaks of our final redemption.
The story of Christmas is the gift of Jesus. He came to earth, so you could come to God. Listen to the words of O Come O Come Emmanuel, and focus on the hope, the invitation and the sound of victory in the word come.
Yes Virginia, there really was a Walker Texas Ranger. His name was Captain Samuel H. Walker. In 1844, Walker and 16 Texas Rangers had defeated 80 Comanche Warriors at the battle of Walker’s Creek.
Because of battles like this, Walker realized there was a need for superior firepower, so he contacted Samuel Colt and the two of them designed a .44 revolver that came to be called the Walker Colt. This pistol remained the premiere handgun for the next 88 years, and it was without peer until the advent of the .357 magnum in 1935.
Advent? Did I just say advent in the preceding sentence? We need to understand Advent as the coming or arrival of something or someone of special importance. Walker and his Texas Rangers had looked forward for many years for a better pistol, but the Advent of really special importance is celebrated each year at this time; and, it commemorates the long-awaited birth of the Christ child.
The Walker Colt may have changed the way the Texas Rangers engaged the enemy, but the Advent of Jesus changed the entire world. The Old Testament prophets had predicted the birth of Messiah for hundreds of years, and when He was finally born, John said he was full of grace and truth.
Walker may have stood for the truth, but I doubt he showed much grace to his enemies. Jesus did, and He still does because God gave, and he still gives. Christmas is about receiving from a giving God.
John said: As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
As you unwrap the packages beneath the Christmas tree, remember God’s gift Who was born in the manager and died on a tree. This is the ultimate gift because it is the gift of eternal life.