ransom captive Israel

With the first snow of the season well underway (we've a food four inches covering the campus in its brilliant whites), it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, complete with the rumblings of Christmas carols, the taste of cider and the donning of obnoxious Christmas clothing. Per that last point, my roommate and I have taken to dressing in our Christmas worst and sending seasonal facebook videos to our loved ones. This is perfectly permissible given the season's penchant for transforming even the most cantankerous scrooges into festive celebrants of the joys of Advent. My floor fellowship on Thursday consisted of decorating the floor with garlands, wreaths, stockings and ornaments, a hot chocolate indulgence and a discussion of our favorite Christmas traditions and songs. Many of my girls recalled cutting down the family's tree while others recounted Christmas eve candlelight services and culturally unique practices like finding a pickle hidden on a tree. My favorite tradition has always been driving around to look at Christmas lights. Back in South Africa we would drive into Johannesburg, where giant scenes played out in lights across the streets and between buildings, all pointing to the center of the city, where a giant and elaborately decorated tree awaited us.
The wonder of this season is never lost on me. With the myriad ways we celebrate Christ's birth, the joy and love of the season always translates into peace and hope. Hope that we will celebrate Christ's second coming soon, and peace that we can rest in the knowledge that he has already walked this earth. Today in church my priest (I attend an Episcopal church) was talking about the great seriousness of this season, and I agree with him. It's easy to get caught up in the romance and wonder of the season, but I'm of the opinion that this season has an inherent gravity, in that the celebration of Christ's birth is the response to our great sins; we mustn't forget that Christ had to come because we had turned so far from him.

With that in mind, here's a link to my favorite Christmas song--O Come, O Come Emmanuel--one that painfully and perfectly casts this season in its proper light. The death and shadows, captivity and mourning, exile and misery which we sinners deserve is replaced only by the Lord of Might, whose great power we celebrate this season in the form of a little baby. Rejoice, Rejoice!