Before becoming a pastor, I never heard the word Emmanuel outside of Advent and Christmas. It’s unfortunate because that word, Emmanuel, is so much more apart of our lives than relegating it to just Advent and Christmas. It is a word I love deeply. It is the expression of how God comes to earth, and interrupts our lives. So often we miss it, we overlook it, we see past it.
Recently Netflix recommended that I watch “Call the Midwife.” I scoffed its recommendation, while I am a fan of many BBC shows, I thought it appeared to be a shallow and flimsy recommendation based more on my liking of “Downton Abbey” than of “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who”. But as I often find myself saying, I was wrong. Both birth and death, while scientific in their execution and fundamentals, always seem to present themselves to me as spiritual events. It is as if the veil between the worlds of here and hereafter are thinner. The 2012 Season Christmas special of “Call the Midwife” was one of the best expressions of the meaning of Emmanuel and use of the song “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” I’ve seen in a long time. The midwives, as nurses often do, act as Jesus. They become expressions of Christ to the people they serve.
The concluding lines of the episode rang true – “Like Hope, Faith is both a rope and an anchor in a shifting world… and though I couldn’t not grasp it then, I felt it’s heartbeat, that it was love”
Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.