O Come, O Come Emmanuel (printable and reflection)

(I’m an ENFP which means I have 375% more ideas than I have time for.  Yesterday I owed you a hymn reflection and printable, today I owe you a church planting post.  Our family has been down with the stomach bug all week so you’re getting the hymn because it’s what I need to write.  I promise to follow through more in 2014, refer back to line one of the this post and believe accordingly.)

We’re 4 days out from Christmas and I don’t know about you but I’m already sick of it. Not the Jesus part. The Rest of it.

The shopping, to do list, grocery run, stomach bug, mall frenzy, 72 email ads, cheap plastic side of it.

The part where you stop and go “wait, isn’t this supposed to be about Jesus?  Where’s my silent night?”

The part where you wonder how so much hate and division can be flying around between people who claim to celebrate the same baby this whole season is supposed to be about.

The part where you’re doing too much in the hopes that it will make everything feel okay.

The part where you can’t even fathom a holiday gathering without someone you’ve lost, where the thing you want for Christmas is certainly not going to happen.

The parts where our hearts are still in exile for either a healing that hasn’t come or a truth we’re sorely missing.

These are the parts that weigh on me while I’m standing in line at the store wondering why someone would pay an extra $5 for a gift card holder that will get immediately thrown away or while I’m sitting on my couch picturing Christmas scenes I want but can’t have.

These are the parts into which I need to pray this hymn. (listen to it here)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
And Ransom Captive Israel
That mourns in Lowly Exile here
Until the son of God appears

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

O come thou dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine Advent here
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 desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad division cease
And be thyself our King of Peace

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel

  A background of pain underneath the cry of the weary world, some of our most painful words with our cry scrawled over top, digital art that made me shake as I created it. You can print this out as an 8×10 or do what I’m going to do, save it as the home screen on your phone to remind you that Jesus is the cry of our most broken places. 

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t always my favorite Christmas hymn, but it is now.  It’s an aching, a cry for salvation that has already, but not yet happened.

It speaks of a nation in exile, unable to sing it’s songs in a foreign land where they are aching and stuck.

It was originally written in latin during the middle ages and over the past 800 years everything and nothing has changed.  We still ache, we still observe advent and recognize that while the baby has been born to us, there is so much he has yet to set right.  

The other day I was talking with my daughter Noelle about advent and getting ready for Jesus to be born.

“But Mom, Jesus already has been born.  That doesn’t make any sense.  Why would we wait for something that already happened.”

I let her win that one for now, because is confusing, isn’t it?  He came already yet still there is so much ache we don’t understand.

We mourn, we wail, we burry our faces in our hands some days and ache his his return, now, yesterday, sooner.

There is so much wrong with the world, but we have to remember something crucial, something hopeful. Many of the places that cry out for Emmanuel are places into which we can be the bearers of his love.  We cannot ourselves undo death, take away the memory of abuse or unsay hurtful words yet we are not powerless in the darkness.

But we can feed the hungry
We can invite the homeless in
We can speak love into hate
We can sit with the grieving and meet their needs
So many of the ways in which Emmanuel will come to us, is through the hands of his people.

And as easy as it is to get discouraged, there is hope.  There is reason to rejoice, may it not be all grief for you, not all aching, may there be hope and very real places in which he comes to you as we celebrate the day that changed the world forever.

 Every month I do a hymn reflection and printable, the best way to tune in is to subscribe to this blog via email using the form below or with a reader like bloglovin (button to the right)

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Be thou my vision (new monthly feature w free printable)

I love hymns, I love words, I love it when old words still have everything to say about our very modern daily lives.

In the throes of modern culture we threw away so much tradition that we really ought to have redeemed.

We need to be using words that the average soul can grasp onto but we have to be always bridging our story to that of those who went before.  This struggle for faith, these issues, this pain… it’s nothing new.

There is beauty in the old practices, there is loveliness in the liturgy and the old songs and hymns still speak volumes to us if we to sit with them for a while.

Certainly there are thees and thous to work around, but for me, there is something deeply comforting about knowing that back in the 7th century the struggle was basically the same:  Faith is a hard won battle and at the end of it all we are prone to wander and focus on everything but the truth of God.  So we’d better keep on asking for help in this midst of the fray.  

At my current church, worship is a blend of old and new.  There are hymns done in contemporary style and there is liturgical, responsive reading but it’s done in modern language.

I believe in the old ways and I believe that the truth behind those words can bring us back, connect our now with the history of ages.

I need words, I believe in plastering the walls of my home with the truth that I am so prone to walk away from.  I believe in reminders, Ebenezers, things that ground me when I try to spin into madness.

So along those lines, I want to share hymns here on the 20th of the month, some sort of old school, blog worship.

I’ll provide the following:

  • Link to song on youtube (open in new tab)
  • Lyrics and reflections
  • Free 8×10 Printable for your home.

I hope you enjoy this, I know I’m going to love seeing words and truth that tell our story covering walls of our home.

Let’s start now, eh?  First up:  My Favorite Hymn of all time, likely because A) It’s awesome, B) It was my Dad and Rich Mullins’ favorites.


guys this is my first printable, bear with me here.  I pulled out the lines of the song that I need to glance at the most.  When you click on it, it should be a nice, high resolution 8 x 10 that can easily be resized to a smaller frame if you’d like.  

Be Thou My Vision (I’d go play the song now… but that’s just me)

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Guys this song is a prayer, and those sort of songs are my favorite. The writer isn’t declaring himself as having achieved something lofty, he’s asking God to be his everything,  he isn’t claiming to be there.  This I can get on board with.

He’s asking God to filter the very way he sees the world and all the life humming around him.  My eyes are seeing all the wrong things Lord, will you enter into what my eyes gather of the world?

Dear Lord,  be our vision
Our Best Thought
Ever with us
Better than money and recognition is Jesus, the best thing we can think as we move through our day.

Yes please.  And Amen.