O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

This is, by far, my favorite Christmas carol, especially during the seasons of Advent. It captures so well the longing Israel had, waiting in a darkened world for the light that would save them. Historically, it was also a time to anticipate the second coming of Christ.

There’s a third as well. The third, according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his “The Three Comings of Christ,”

...lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty….Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.
If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.

As we focus on these two themes, we’re reminded of just how amazing Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection really are, and anticipate his return. We all live in a time when these monumental events are viewed as something in the past, but the liturgical year, like Advent, give us an opportunity to live with Christ, to experience Him and the history of salvation, but Advent gives us something here and now to see, and something to look forward to.

Before the Incarnation, the Israelites cried, “Come, O Lord,” and their prayers were answered. As I remember the Incaration during Advent, we remember Christ is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

As a Christian Church, we join together and pray, “Come, O Lord,” looking for the glorious return of Christ and the coming joy of the world to come.

Today, we can each as, “Come, O Lord,” asking Christ to be with us now, endowing us His grace and salvation. Christ meets us where we are, each and every day a new. Christ’s coming isn’t something we have to look long into the past for or wait for, but we can experience now.

Let us turn to Christ as our rest and consolidation and, during this season, make this our deep, heartfelt prayer:

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 Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
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 heav'nly 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, Adonai, Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.