We sing the lovely hymn by that name every year during Advent, repeating familiar words that remind us that the weeks before we celebrate Christmas are all about the wait, the hope, and the preparation for the coming of our Savior.

We wait for many things in life, from the mundane to the sublime. We wait for traffic to clear, for a meal to be ready, for a call or message to appear, for the beginning or end of the school year, for career uncertainty to resolve, for a loved one to return to us, or for a new baby to arrive. Each event that involves waiting includes anticipation of an outcome as well as preparation for that outcome. In the case of Advent, we wait during the days before Christmas, we anticipate the joy of celebrating Christ’s coming to us, and we prepare our hearts.

The weeks ahead will be filled with opportunities to wait, anticipate, and celebrate, including family and church traditions like scripture readings, advent wreathes, the pealing of church bells, or the lighting of candles as we sing together. As we study, pray, sing, share and prepare through Advent, we do so in joyful knowledge that we welcome Emmanuel rejoicing—“God with us.”

Mary Dixon

About the Contributor

Mary been a member of First Presbyterian since 1995, and especially enjoys the Emmaus Sunday School class and the church’s wonderful music programs. Mary and her husband Mark have two grown sons.